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Ship's Log, June 24: Mid-touch attackers

The third type of attacker.

Last Updated
5 min read
Max Aquino for Sounder at Heart

Some talents in soccer need a single touch to change a game – Raúl Ruidíaz can create a goal from the halfway line, for example. Obafemi Martins was also this way. They didn't need to be too involved in build up, because they knew that one touch was enough.

Other talents need to involved in every phase and transition of the game. Peak Nicolás Lodeiro wanted about 100 touches per goal contribution (that number is made up). When Clint Dempsey felt disconnected he'd drift behind the defensive mid to pickup a ball from a centerback, because his soul needed touches.

This year, the Seattle Sounders are discovering mid-touch players. As he's aged, Raúl has drifted back into play trying to get more touches. Some of this is by design and some of it is by desire. He's at 39 touches per 90 in 2024. Back in 2020 (his age 29 season) he needed only 27 touches per 90 to show his magic. His non-penalty xG+xA per 90 in that season was 0.77. This year it's only 0.38.

He's not the only mid-touch attacker on this year's Sounders.

Jordan Morris is averaging 30 touches per match this year, and his goal contributions have come in matches where he's just over 25.

In 2020 Morris was an MVP candidate. He hit a non-pen xG+xA of 0.78 with 10 goals and 7 primary assists in that shortened year. He averaged 42 touches per game and his assist numbers showed it.

Generally, teams try to spread their touches around so their most dangerous attackers gain those touches in threatening areas. Check out this seasons Realio's ratings to find mentions of unrewarded runs. They're frustrating, both to fans and to players.

Some attackers respond by drifting so far back that they are no longer an attacker. Others respond by no longer making unrewarded runs.

But whatever the mentality of the player – low touch, high touch or mid touch – when they're participating in the style they like most they glow.

See Morris' six goals in his past seven games – speedy central runs, flashing headers on set-pieces. He's the target man, the line breaker.

Rather than Jordan re-inventing who he is in order to succeed, it was the team around him that remembered how to reward who he is.

He's a mid-touch attacker who wants to drop back to defend, but not to play the ball there.

Here's to that still working.

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Catching up on Sounder at Heart

Here's what you need to get ready for the week's play.

I missed Friday's Ship's Log. The links below are to still relevant stories in the last seven days.


Next match: Saturday at 7:30 pm PDT hosting the Chicago Fire at Lumen Field on MLS Season Pass.

Reviewing the win over Dallas

Planning for the future

Realio's Ratings

The middle of the West is tight enough that a good week (and some help) could put Seattle in 6th by points. Their points per match would be the mediocrity-defining 1.33.


Next match: Sunday at 10 am PDT visiting Gotham FC at Red Bull Arena on ESPN2/ESPN+/ESPN Deportes.


Next match: Sunday at 8 pm PDT hosting SKCII at Starfire Stadium on and YouTube.

Defiance have dropped to fifth in their division.


Next match: Saturday at 6 pm PDT visiting Northern Colorado Hailstorm at Future Legends Complex on ESPN+ in the USL Jägermeister Cup.

USL2 teams

One of the Oregon teams started getting results, but the division is still under Ballard's control.

Tuesday: Midlakes hosts Tacoma

Wednesday: Olympia hosts West Seattle

Friday: Olympia is on the road to Capital FC; Midlakes hosts Ballard

Looking back at the news

Everything else you need to know

ECS put forth a Pride display. It was massive.

MLS Commish Don Garber committed to welcoming gay players - Outsports.

Coaching changes are speeding up. The latest out are Casey Stoney from San Diego Wave and Luchi Gonzalez from the San Jose Earthquakes. Former Sounder Ian Russell takes over for the Quakes.

League wide attendance in MLS is up 12% this season compared to last, at its highest average per match ever. The Seattle Sounders are one of four teams down.

Weston McKennie could be joining DeAndre Yedlin in Cinci. He doesn't like the grass-over-turf that a few Copa America stadia are using. It's been a common complaint, but isn't related to the surfaces that will be used in the Men's World Cup as no local host is doing an overlay and all will have grass at least a month prior to the tournament.

Andrew Thomas, LEGEND, is featured by US Soccer.

Bethany Balcer, she of 100 appearances, advocates for mental health. She's a strong messenger.

The nerds still think Seattle has one of the best analytics departments.

Portland Thorns appealed a second yellow for Sophia Smith hiding a soccer ball. The NWSL called that appeal 'frivolous' and tacked on even more punishment.

New FIFPRO report illustrates level of multiple job-holding among elite women footballers - FIFPRO World Players' Union.

How to use passing networks in soccer — American Soccer Analysis.

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