Seattle Sounders Issues Through Seven Games – What Do We Know?

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The Seattle Sounders are only seven games into the young MLS season. And yet, fans may not be going overboard to say they are concerned about what they are seeing. Could it be that offseason moves were more drastic than we, at first believed? Is the young talent progressing too slowly? Are the veterans (read: old guys) showing their age?

We need to take a look at the numbers behind the first seven games to get a better idea as to how bad this season is compared to last. The Sounders are sitting ninth in the West (with only seven points) and while it is still premature to be looking at the playoffs, they are five points back of sixth place Sporting Kansas City. They only have two wins (both within the friendly home confines of CenturyLink Field) and have a negative-three goal differential (seven goals for and ten goals against).

Their top goal scorers are a center back (Chad Marshall) and a rookie (Jordan Morris) with two apiece. While their two Designated Players (Clint Dempsey and Nelson Valdez) have only combined for one goal total. Even more worrying with Valdez is that he has only one goal and one assist since becoming a DP on August 7, 2015. Not exactly what you hope for out of a DP forward. And while seven goals isn’t nearly enough to hope to contend for a playoff spot (or heaven forbid, the Supporters’ Shield), even more troubling is that nearly half of those (three) have come from set pieces.

For comparison’s sake, let’s take a look at where the Sounders stood through seven games in the 2015-2016 season.

Through seven games last season, the Sounders had four wins, two losses, and one draw (thirteen points). They had a plus-five goal differential (difference of eight goals over their current season amount). And just in case you are under the belief that that record and differential were phenomenal, Seattle still only managed to get the fourth seed in the Western Conference playoffs last season.

What Sounders fans should find the most concerning are the goal scorers and assist providers in the first seven games of last season. Through seven games, Obafemi Martins had four goals and one assist, Lamar Neagle had two goals, Clint Dempsey had four goals and three assists, Andy Rose had two assists, and Marco Pappa and Gonzalo Pineda each provided one assist apiece. So what now? Well, Martins is now in China with Shanghai Shenhua, Neagle is with D.C. United, Andy Rose is in England playing for League One side Coventry City, Pappa is with western conference foe, the Colorado Rapids, and Pineda has retired.

While one could point to injuries playing a part in the slow start, with Dempsey, Eric Friberg, and Brad Evans, among others already missing game time this season, or a questionable red card to Tyrone Mears in the first game of the season forcing him out of a match, that still doesn’t answer the questions regarding potential goal threats going forward. Last season, one could count on at least one moment of brilliance from the Dempsey/Martins duo that would leave you breathless and, more times than not, provided instant offense. But, when you look at this Sounders squad as currently accumulated, where is the spark? Young Jordan Morris has seemed to shake off the rookie season jitters with two goals in the last two games, but can the Sounders trust a rookie to carry them all season?

For now, there are way too many questions and not nearly enough answers. The answers could come in the form of a new DP signing (replacing the void left by Obafemi Martins) and a return of Roman Torres to the lineup to bolster the back line, but neither of these is likely until the middle to end of summer at the earliest.

For now, we wait. But, one thing is for sure, the Sounders are leaving much to be desired by fans through the first seven games.

Main Photo: Gene Sweeney Jr, Getty Images