S2’s first goal of 2016 came in their fourth game of the year. They earned their first victory the next week, but six games later they had not garnered a second win.
The team’s problem showed throughout the attack. Yes, it was partially that they weren’t finishing their chances (they had three goals in their first five games), but more worrying was that they weren’t creating them. A lack of finishing can reasonably be chalked up to luck; a lack of creation implies something deeper. S2 didn’t look like they had an executable strategy for winning games.
A few months later and S2 are doing better. They’re scoring more, with seven goals in their past five matches: They can get the ball into the opponent’s box through long balls over a high line or by building around the 18 yard mark.
What’s better though, is that S2 is doing so with an increasingly youthful roster. Nouhou Tolo and Michael Nelson have solidified roles in the back line, at 19 and 21 years old respectively. Academy players John Magnus and Lorenzo Ramos are getting solid minutes with the team.
S2 still has a lot of work to do all around the field. It’s good to see that work being done by players who might play a role in the Sounders’ long-term MLS plans.