Categorized | Commentary, Lead Story

Annual Goal Drought Comes Early For Sounders FC

Posted on 25 March 2011 by Kyle Alm

Seattle Sounders FC has enjoyed an early run of success from their first First Kick to consistent sellout crowds and becoming a model franchise in MLS for marketing, fan experience, corporate sponsorship, and ownership. Sounders have had their share of turbulence also. Typically with Designated Players (DP) colliding with the immovable Sigi Schmid.

Sounders have never lost an opener, but the Galaxy are an excellent team with great players and they bring it even when they come to Qwest. Great players like Beckham and Donovan, and in this match Juninho, rise to challenges, create challenges to motivate themselves and apparently deafening Qwest is one of those challenges. The Galaxy aren’t the only team to win at Qwest and the fans are usually quite vocal despite the score. Jury is out on that one, sorry Lando.

Losing on the road to New York Red Bulls isn’t a great surprise either, but maybe more disappointing because of Keller stopping a PK from Thierry Henry.

It appears that the largest difference between LA, NYRB & Sounders are the DPs. Beckham, Donovan, Henry didn’t come here for the “lifestyle” that Blaise Nkufo or Freddie Ljungberg were seeking. The clash was inevitable. If you put young players trying to establish themselves with players who should be retiring or staying in Europe. Blaise Nkufo was an unusual case. Not just the way he went out, but also how long he took to join the team from his announced signing. Not that the World Cup wasn’t important, pretty good excuse. And the way Nkufo looked against Spain was very encouraging, and worth the wait.

Nkufo still finished 3rd in the goal tally for the season, scored a hat trick in Columbus, but there seemed to be something a miss, perhaps out of sync with his play. At least we don’t have to wonder who Sigi was talking about when he implied that the roster could be shaken up if the team failed to get over the hump and win in the playoffs. Score in the playoffs.

And score this season.

And that is precisely the reason why the losses to LA & NYRB are cause for concern, because the opportunity to win the game was there and they could not put it away. The idea that Sounders have gone through goal scoring droughts before and made the playoffs denies the fact that those seasons weren’t up to expectations. Sounders really aren’t competing for a League Championship or the MLS Cup. Not if they can’t score goals consistently and definitely not go two games without a goal.

Two words that should never be brought up again: atmosphere & lifestyle. Sure the fans are great and stars on the roster puts fans in the stands, but in the end winning is what matters and you can’t win 0-0.

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