6. Seattle’s production problems
Last season, the Seattle Sounders got career years from Lamar Neagle and Chad Barrett. Kenny Cooper was pitching in with goals. So was Marco Pappa. Gonzalo Pineda scored. Andy Rose bagged a handful.
Obafemi Martins and Clint Dempsey led the team, of course, but it was those secondary contributions that made Seattle so unstoppable when they were on last year.
So far in 2015, outside of Dempsey and Martins, the Sounders haven’t been able to score. Pappa and Neagle have both struggled in front of goal, Barrett appears to be back to his normal, average self, and Cooper is in Montreal. Expecting that quartet to match their production from last year was always going to be crazy anyway.
Because Seattle’s central midfield of Osvaldo Alonso and Pineda doesn’t score, there is a huge burden placed on the Sounders’ wingers to get goals. Perhaps Garth Lagerway’s first major move in Seattle should be getting the Sounders some real dynamism on the wing – as it stands, this team might be better in defense than attack.
7. Where are the goals?
There was yet more boring soccer and two more scoreless draws in MLS in this weekend – plus the second game already this year in which neither team registered a shot on goal in the first half between Vancouver and San Jose.
It appears to be taking teams even longer than usual to get into the swing of things this season. It certainly doesn’t help that the number of playoff teams has been expanded to six, making it far more affordable to sit on draws both home and away.
It also hasn’t helped that teams we can usually rely on for good soccer and goal-scoring haven’t really delivered to this point. Real Salt Lake haven’t figured out their offense in a new 4-3-3 look. LA have been ponderous at best since mid-March. Portland’s offense is mostly a slog right now without Diego Valeri. It hasn’t been a good six weeks.
8. San Jose continues to fight
The ‘Quakes aren’t going to out-football anyone this year. The encouraging thing for San Jose fans is that Dominic Kinnear’s team is picking up points and wins even as they’re still trying to figure out how to integrate Matias Perez-Garcia and Innocent Emeghara into their attack.
This looks very much like a team in transition – the fact that Chris Wondolowski has been virtually anonymous in the first month and change of the season tells a story in itself – but one that has the fight that it lost last season back.