After a promising opening season in 2009 where the chips basically fell into place, Seattle Sounders fans became rocked by the team’s current inability to score goals and win games against Western Conference rivals.
The Sounder faithful need to step back and consider what was being said before last Saturday’s contest at Colorado. It was mentioned that last year’s edition of the Rapids fell barely short of qualifying for the MLS playoffs.
The team that edged out the Coloradans did so on the strength of goals scored. It is interesting to note which team that was and how it acquitted itself thereafter.
It was Real Salt Lake that barely scratched its way into the playoffs just ahead of Colorado by earning the fifth spot.
What happened to the Utah squad?
It fought its way into the MLS Cup championship match against the L.A. Galaxy and emerged with the title following its win on the Xbox pitch of Qwest Field.
Real Salt Lake proved a point. The MLS season is far from a sprint. It is instead a marathon.
At the end of that marathon the important second season begins, the playoffs. The Utah team jelled at just the right time and a championship resulted.
The Sounders have two more games left before the World Cup break. The bad news is that the team is 3-5-3 with 12 points, with only four having been secured in its last six starts.
The potentially good news is that, whereas the Sounders have not tasted victory thus far against a Western Conference rival, the last two contests before the World Cup break involve Eastern Conference rivals.
Consider also that Seattle has a chance to benefit from a little home cooking, with the final two games being scheduled at Qwest Field against the New England Revolution and D.C. United respectively. By winning both times, the Sounders at break time would be at the .500 mark with a 5-5-3 ledger and 18 points.
The last time the Sounders played on the Xbox pitch was the friendly last Wednesday against highly regarded Boca Juniors of Buenos Aires. That game came on the heels of the most disappointing loss of the season—along with an earlier 4-0 home loss against first place Los Angeles—a 1-0 shutout at the hands of the San Jose Earthquakes.
The Sounders team that took the field last Wednesday played at a pace that exceeded the preceding game against San Jose.
What accounted for the difference? There was a strong motivation factor to make up for the earlier disappointment.
Fredy Montero, whose solid kick provided Roger Levesque with an opportunity to chest in the evening’s first goal of a 3-0 triumph, had a ready answer as to why the team started so fast.
“We wanted to win for our fans,” Montero explained, “especially after the disappointing loss on Saturday against San Jose.”
Saturday evening at 7:30 the New England Revolution will supply the opposition. Seattle has additional incentive beyond that already discussed.
New England, 3-6-3 with 11 points and a win over the New York Red Bulls in the Revolution’s most recent outing, has never yielded a point to the Emerald City contingent.
New England prevailed twice against the Sounders in 2009 action. Seattle would love some immediate payback.