The Seattle Sounders are a strange team. They’re a riddle locked in a conundrum, a puzzle wrapped around a quandary, an enigma of what-ifs and maybes.
Take last season as an example. They were the most-supported club, even though they were playing in just their first season. They had the fewest shots on goal, despite being led by the player who eventually topped the league in shots. They conceded the lowest number of goals, while having more men sent off than anyone else.
In theory, Seattle should be a poorly-supported, ill-disciplined team that lets in a lot of goals and misses the playoffs by a mile.
In reality, they’re loved by fans, envied by competitors, and they may just have the making of a team that could turn into perennial contenders for silverware and trophies.
A second-year team, simply put, shouldn’t be this good. But the start of the 2010 season hasn’t gone all Sigi Schmid’s way. An opening day win at home to the Philadelphia Union wasn’t all that unexpected, but their Week Two defeat against the New York Red Bulls certainly was.
The Sounders dominated the Red Bulls in every way possible, but despite all of their numerical advantages, they couldn’t find a way to put any of their 17 shots into the back of the net. Instead, it was Macoumba Kandji who found himself in space to steal three thoroughly-undeserved points for the hosts.
The third and most recent game away at Real Salt Lake could have gone either way. The Sounders looked to have sealed the win at Rio Tinto Stadium when Nat Borchers scored an own goal with 18 minutes to go, but Alvaro Saborio salvaged a point for RSL with a goal deep into injury time.
The Sounders should be 3-0-0, yet they’re just 1-1-1. Such is the way with Seattle, I suppose. They host the Eastern Conference-leading Kansas City Wizards tomorrow before traveling to the Western Conference whipping boys FC Dallas next Thursday.
Seattle’s off to a good start, but there’s still a long way to go. While it’s encouraging to see the team share the goals and play disciplined football, all of that is for naught if they don’t pick up points.
The LA Galaxy have came out of the gates flying and they look like the team to beat so far in 2010. Seattle will get their chance on May 8 in front of yet another sell-out crowd at Qwest Field, and maybe then we can find out just what type of challenge Freddy Montero and Co. can mount come October.
I don't have the answer to the Sounders' successes, but I would be a foolish man if I bet against them reigning supreme by the end of the year. The team apparently has this intangible quality and fans are buying into it. Why shouldn't we?