Taking a look at the MLS standings right now is fun. Seattle Sounders are at the top — top of the West, top of the Shield and only one other team still has a perfect record. Various Power Rankings love the Sounders too, of course.
Sure, some people might be hesitant. The defense didn’t look great against the Chicago Fire. There were game-state issues and poor possession for a stretch. Here’s the thing — it’s not a harbinger of things to come. The Sounders had a three-goal lead. That’s exactly the state when teams can and should relax, a bit.
Maybe you are the type to see that defense and think “the team isn’t this good.” I’m not here for that. The team is that good and the defense is more than fine.
In real goals against they are averaging a goal against a game. Only three teams are better than that. The supposed weakness? It’s not weak! Maybe you prefer advanced metrics? The Sounders actually lost the xGD contest against the Fire. That may be a sign of worry.
But that would ignore the other two matches that Seattle dominated. Don’t accept small samples when larger ones are available. Larger samples still love the Sounders defense. Let’s check with 538. They’ve got the Sounders defense as 7th best in the league. The offense is 5th and their model has the end-of-season goal differential as a potent +17, tied for second with LAFC.
Yes, their model is different than the one Baer shares. Baer’s model loves Seattle’s defense on whole as well. Seattle gives up just over 4 xGA total in that model and has a massive +2.59 xGD on the young season.
“But the schedule has been easy”
Sure has! Sagarin considers the schedule the 2nd easiest to this point in the season. Seattle still has the 2nd best performance to this point because they are dominating as that model expects. Jeff’s model would expect Seattle to take at least a point against every team on neutral ground and lose away against only four sides. They’d win every home game.
The advanced metrics think this is a very good team. You should think that too.
Depth shouldn’t be a concern. Upcoming road games shouldn’t be a concern. A future losing streak shouldn’t be a concern.
This is a complete team with a good defense and a great attack. There’s national team quality spread throughout the 18 and the Sounders brass avoided almost every international date.
Don’t wait to celebrate awesome. Don’t wait for the bad times to complain. Don’t hesitate to celebrate when the team you love is firing on all cylinders.
Find joy in greatness. Right now, that means finding joy in the Seattle Sounders. This is the start we’ve all been asking for. They’re the greatest team in the land and the holes you can find are nothing compared to the holes in other MLS sides.