Unfortunately for the Seattle Sounders, the 2017 season so far has been marked by multiple games in which they’ve dominated nearly every stat—except the scoreline, the one that matters. On Friday in Vancouver, the Sounders lit up the stats sheet, but they lost 2-1. Head coach Brian Schmetzer said in his post-match press conference that “all the possession in the world isn’t good unless you can score.”
Seattle had 61.7% of possession, 82.1% passing accuracy, 9 corner kicks, 15 shots (6 on target), but only a single goal. Schmetzer credited the Vancouver defense and goalkeeper David Ousted, which is definitely warranted. The Whitecaps cleared the ball off the line multiple times, and Ousted made some stellar saves. But of those 6 shots on goal, only a couple (plus the goal) were truly dangerous. Schmetzer put it this way, that the Sounders “gotta figure out ways how to not let teams off the hook when you dominate the stats that don’t mean as much if you don’t score.”
Schmetzer made certain to note that the team would be working on some of their problem areas at the back especially, like marking on corners and crosses. Both of Fredy Montero’s goals for Vancouver were on such situations, and both times the Seattle defense either missed a header or lost their mark.
While the Sounders need to work on such things, as well as their finishing at the other end, Schmetzer admitted that there are “no excuses” for dropped points in their last couple matches—even if they were both on the road. He said he thinks the team just needs one “breakthrough game” to get going, especially once they finish their run of successive road matches next weekend in LA. “It’s a tough league, there certainly are things that we will look at as a coaching staff, to see if we can start that fire.”
Even though it’s evident that Schmetzer isn’t panicking just yet, his fairly early substitution of Will Bruin showed his frustration at his starting lineup. When asked if Bruin’s late poaching has earned him consideration for a spot in the starting XI, he said the staff has been “kicking it around.” In 2016, the Sounders often played Nelson Valdez up top with Jordan Morris on the wing, and Schmetzer said he’s considered doing the same with Will Bruin this season.
With another tough away match coming up next week, Schmetzer may want to change things up—or give his starters one more shot at redemption before he makes any wholesale changes. He noted that he and the staff will “watch the tape and try to make corrections and prepare for LA.” If the Sounders can figure out how to turn dominance on the stat sheet into dominance on the scoreboard, he’ll have his answer.