Saturday night, for all purposes was a success for the Seattle Sounders. Three points would have been ideal, but considering that they held D.C. United scoreless, a team that scored four goals the week before, they no doubt feel satisfied with the point. This was their first road game of the year, following a defeat to a San Jose team that out-hustled them, and it was against a young D.C. team that is inspired and having early success. It was against a team that has reigning league MVP Dewayne DeRosario, and they did it in front of the always raucous Barra Brava, which totaled over 15,000 on the night. So why then, as a Sounders fan, did I walk away from the match feeling uncertain about our season? One reason, early play shows that this team needs a #10 to be successful.
Seattle has great attacking talent. I would rival it against any in the league, but all that attacking talent is with their forwards and not in the midfield. Now don’t get me wrong, Montero, Estrada, Johnson, and Levesque are all capable players, but they are all forwards, not midfielders and they think like forwards. Countless times, indecisive passes in the final third cost the Sounders attempts on goal. It wasn’t that the decisions were wrong, it was the hesitation. Too many times Montero or Levesque took one touch too many. The Sounders forwards can be clinical finishers with the best of them when they have the service not when they are giving. It’s the reason that I believe Fredy Montero has been so slow to tally a goal, too much time in the midfield and not in front of goal.
Sounders fans all know the answer and that is the return of Mauro Rosales. He can make the decisive passes in the final third. His return will no doubt help, but can the Sounders really feel stable knowing that so much of their offensive creativity lies with one player. A player who is 31 and no doubt will miss more time during the long MLS season. Alvaro Fernandez hasn’t shown the consistency in his service as evidenced when he miss-hit and pass to a wide open David Estrada. So much talk has been, if Eddie Johnson can regain his former form. He will if he can play up top and not have to drift out wide to help create chances. The same can be said of Roger Levesque, how can one of the league’s best poachers be that if he playing out wide right. Seattle will need to find more creativity from the mid-field if they want to fully utilize their forward talent. How many goals do you think Montero would score if he didn’t have to go into the mid-field, and could stay up top with Johnson or Estrada? It is not so much if the forwards are capable of playing in the midfield, it a matter of putting them where their instincts are most effective. Perhaps instead of being involved with summer transfer rumors for Ivica Olic, they should be the ones trying to get Stephen Ireland.