Seattle Sounders-Boca Juniors: Sounders Look To End Scoring Drought

Bill HareCorrespondent IMay 25, 2010

SEATTLE - MAY 22:  Freddie Ljungberg #10 of the Seattle Sounders FC runs against the San Jose Earthquakes on May 22, 2010 at Qwest Field in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

The frustration continued Saturday afternoon on the Xbox pitch of Qwest Field with Seattle Sounders FC being blanked 1-0 by the red hot, second place in the Western Conference San Jose Earthquakes.

Coach Sigi Schmid conceded that the scoring woes are beginning to resemble a horror film his increasingly uncomfortable eyes have been compelled to watch repetitiously.

He cited a lack of concentration, indicating that his players are also losing valuable time better devoted to scoring goals by arguing with officials.  Coach Schmid also criticized non-verbal communication when players lose concentration by flashing complaining looks in the direction of officials.

Among the players to argue vehemently with the referee on Saturday's game was Sweden’s star midfielder Freddie Ljungberg. Known for the his passionate approach to playing the game, he displayed energetic disgust in complaining that his shirt was held, dramatically clutching part of it and using it as a symbol.

Two weeks ago the Sounders had hoped that things might be falling into place with a big road win against the New York Bulls.  What looked to be an ultimate scoreless draw changed quickly when speedy forward Fredy Montero emerged as a substitute and booted home the winning goal.

Here again, however, the score was 1-0.  The question continued to be asked: When coudl the Sounders anticipate scoring twice or more and achieving greater offensive success?

The Wednesday evening friendly with Boca Juniors comes at an interesting interval.  It is sandwiched in between the home contest with San Jose and next Saturday’s return to MLS action on the road against Colorado.

Sunday night the visiting South American team lost 1-0 to the host Los Angeles Galaxy.  Alas, here is that 1-0 score again, the one so familiar to the Sounders.

During this busy pre-World Cup period rosters are being juggled as certain key players prepare for action on the international stage.

The Galaxy prevailed on a Tristan Bowen goal in the 83rd minute.  The West’s leading team was without its two MLS pacesetters in assists and goals in Landon Donovan and Edson Buddle—as the league’s current stellar attractions prepare for World Cup competition.

Unsurprisingly, Boca Juniors' roster was minus three of its stellar performers who are now preparing for World Cup action.  Heading the list of absentees was forward Martin Palermo, the club’s all-time leading scorer.  The two other major names missing from action were midfielder Claudio Morel and defender Gary Medel.  They are training with Argentina, Paraguay, and Chile respectively.

Wednesday’s Boca Juniors match has sparked much interest locally, and the largest crowd of the season is expected.  Seattle has an opportunity not only to prove its mettle on the international stage but to take measure of where it stands at a crucial juncture where goals have come at a premium.

In a season where—with the exception of the 4-0 home embarrassment against the Galaxy—the defense's effort has been essentially steady, the 1-0 has been a perpetual reminder of how things have gone.

After opening the season at home with a 2-0 shutout of Philadelphia Union, an improved New York Red Bulls team came into town and prevailed 1-0 despite a Sounders team record-setting corner kick effort of 12.  With that many corner kicks you do not anticipate being shut out, especially at home.

The San Jose match to the Sounders was sadly reminiscent of the New York contest and all that has followed in the effort to spike up the offensive attack.  Both games involved 1-0 losses with early goals by the opposition and numerous scoring opportunities falling short.

So now all eyes in the Seattle soccer world are focused on Wednesday and the effort of Coach Sigi Schmid to generate a scoring spark.

Anyone on the Sounders' front superstitious about numbers can be seen as hoping to avoid a potentially ominous 1-0 score.