The Seattle Sounders’ rough start to the season continued on Saturday with their 4th home loss of the season, which stung even more because of the opponent. The Portland Timbers had the lead three times in the match, holding on for a 3-2 win after what looked like a pretty even match.
The only number that really matters is the scoreline, but here are a few more that might help explain the result.
8 — Chances created by Timbers midfielder Diego Valeri
If Brian Schmetzer and the Sounders know anything about facing the Timbers in recent seasons, it’s that the Argentine playmaker must be taken care of during every minute he spends on the pitch. It’s incredible that he had all three assists for the match (to be fair, two were corner kicks), but possibly crazier than that is the EIGHT chances he created for his team. That’s five more chances than the next player (Nicolas Lodeiro) created over 90 minutes. Brian Schmetzer said that the plan was to contain Valeri, but the numbers show how ineffective the Sounders were at doing so.
4/4 — Shots on target for Larrys Mabiala
This is impressive for just about any player, 100% shooting accuracy on top of tying for the most shots on the pitch. What’s absolutely crazy is that Mabiala isn’t a striker or even an attacking midfielder, but a center back. Two of those shots on target were converted, both of them off corner kicks. Not only did the Sounders allow him to get on those balls, they didn’t react quick enough to keep them out of the net. They must absolutely improve at set piece defense, or the rest of this season could be a nightmare.
3 — Fouls conceded by Clint Dempsey
On its own, this isn’t necessarily a bad number. After all, Diego Chara had the same number in this match and that was probably pretty low for him. But Dempsey is a forward/attacking midfielder, who should (at the very least) have more shots than fouls conceded. But against the Timbers, he had just two shots, one on target. His penchant for fouling when he’s frustrated is pretty well-known, and it’s good that he didn’t get himself into any actual trouble this time.
50% — Percentage of shots saved by Bryan Meredith
It’s hard to be too harsh on Meredith, especially considering that it was his first MLS regular season start since 2012. He even started the match really well, making two brilliant saves from two shots in the first half—including a spectacular one-handed save from a point-blank header. But in the second half, Meredith unraveled in between the sticks. His defenders didn’t do him any favors by allowing Mabiala’s free headers and the ridiculous chance that led to Armenteros’ goal, but he has to do better as the club’s backup goalkeeper. He has to step up in moments like this.
20 — Touches by Will Bruin
The many Bruin haters on this website will immediately use this as fodder for their hatred. While it is true that this was not a great night for the forward, this stat reflects more on the team’s performance as a whole. The team simply couldn’t get the ball to him, no matter what they tried. Between the attempted through balls (which Bruin simply isn’t fast enough to get to) and the lazy crossing to nobody in particular, both the Sounders’ tactics and execution of those tactics didn’t fit their lone striker’s style. At least one of the 23 open play crosses should have found Bruin’s head, but few of them even came near him. Through balls are perfect for Jordan Morris, but he is miles away from the pitch right now. The one positive way to look at this is that Raul Ruidiaz IS fast, technical, and intelligent enough to play that kind of soccer. Let’s hope he clicks with the Sounders fast, because he needs to see the ball more than 20 times if he’s going to put it in the back of the net.
Quote of the day, courtesy of head coach Brian Schmetzer:
Schmetzer: “The current state of affairs is not good. We’ve really put ourselves in a hole. The effort from the guys is there. We as coaches need to take responsibility and the players need to step up.”— Sounder At Heart (@sounderatheart) June 30, 2018