Only one loss by mid-May? That sounds like a first place team, right?
Not in this year’s strong Western Conference, where Seattle Sounders sit third behind a stunning LAFC side and the LA Zlatans. The Sounders are terrifying at home, but they have been squeaking by on the road since blowing out Chicago 4-2 on their first trip away from Seattle. Since then they have drawn 0-0 with Vancouver, received a TKO from LAFC, and played out a 1-1 tie with Minnesota in MUFC’s new home.
Roldan’s scoring boots
Although Seattle has only lost once, they have only knocked home multiple goals twice since March 15 — at home against Toronto and San Jose. Over the past three matches, the Sounders have only scored when Cristian Roldan has produced a worldie or when Jordan Morris has caught the opponent off-guard in the… literal first minute of a match.
Additionally, striker Raul Ruidiaz hasn’t scored since March and defender Kevin Leerdam is tied for second in goals with three.
That said, the underlying numbers — according to American Soccer Analysis — still suggest Seattle is creating good chances.
Is the D dominant?
More worrying for the Sounders is that their Expected Goals Against far exceeds the actual number of goals they have given up. This is still a noisy stat so early in the season, but that does mean that the Sounders are either giving up big chances that aren’t going finished or they are allowing a high number of low percentage looks on goal. It may be the latter given that both Seattle and next weekend’s opponent, Portland, are in the league’s top five for shots against.
LoDown and dirty
No matter what kind of form Seattle is in, one player that will remain dangerous at all times is Nico Lodeiro. The hub of all creativity for Brian Schmetzer’s side, he’s like if former Union standouts Vincent Nogueira and Chaco Maidana were combined into a single player.
Alejandro Pozuelo was able to jink and turn his way into some dangerous positions against Philly last weekend when the Union’s front three became separated from the rest of the team. If similar space is granted to Lodeiro, he will pick a team apart.
The Union welcome Seattle at 7:30 p.m. ET on Saturday, May 18.