Already, a lot has been made about the fact the Sounders did not score a goal last night. You know, general “the-sky-is-falling” and all that. I’m sure if you’re not aware of the Sounders “continually” woes in the playoffs than I’m sure you’re not reading much about them or maybe you just are incapable of reading. Illiteracy is a problem and certainly not a laughing matter. It’s also probably a high percentage of bleacher report demographic (SLIDE SHOWS!).
I have to admit I’m not a big believer in the story line of how the Sounders continue to struggle in the playoffs. It’s as if we are being asked to forget the last couple of months or even the last three weeks of form from the guys going out there. The last few weeks, the Sounders haven’t exactly been great at times. They’ve been wildly inconsistent. In fact the difference between the game against LA and last night was Robbie Keane.
The offense struggling isn’t necessarily a playoff thing. It’s a consistency thing. The question we have to ask right now: “Did the Sounders not score any goals because they just didn’t finish the opportunities like they have before or was it the fact that, as Jason Kries claimed, Nick Rimando just simply had one the best game in Real Salt Lake history?
You certainly can point to certain situations in which the Sounders completely missed out on opportunities. Much like LSU against Alabama, they seemed to simply out played the Kings of SLC and yet scored no goals.
A lot of the blame that is being handed out like pie on Thanksgiving is being scooped for Fredy Montero. Much like your fat Uncle Al, it would appear one serving isn’t enough for Fredy. I personally thought he played a very good game. But that’s part of soccer people are going to look at the score line and regardless of his effort on the pitch it’s just not enough for them.
The same with play makers Mauro Rosales and Christian Tiffert. They provided some excellent scoring chances and honestly the fact that the Sounders didn’t score goals can hardly be attributed to either of these guys who motored and fought fiercely in the attacking third. Finding Brad Evans, Fredy, Estrada and Sammy Ochoa, time and time again in the box.
That’s not to say of course that the misses weren’t extra bitter. Sammy Ochoa‘s sailed a ball over the cross bar when he got too much of the pitch on his strike with an open goal in front of him. Of course you had David Estrada on a keen cross by Mauro Rosales that was all of 5 feet from a wide open goal that, as previous mentioned, was swung through like a Felix Hernandez curve ball.
These are just two moments that specifically stand out in my mind. Maybe people have others that frustrated them. The problem is you can’t just hang your hat on two plays and single out them as the reason you didn’t come away with any goals. The DC United and Chris Pontius missed many, many opportunities tonight. They still were attributed a goal.
Problem is that goal was an own goal, same with the Red Bulls, you can’t simply point to score lines and compare apples to oranges. Considering the first 4 playoff games played and the chances involved, the Sounders possibly produced one of the best attacks thus far displayed.
I’m not trying to play “supporter-tinted-glasses-guy” or “hyperbole-guy”. I’m making an effort to bring people back to reality. The Sounders performed admirably and despite headed on the road for a decisive game. They are playing to the Regals weakness, their inability to stay healthy. Between the nicks to Jamison Olave and now Nick Rimando, Kwame Watson-Siriboe and Fabian Espindola the Sounders have an advantage going into Rio Tinto.
Nate Boarchers and Tony Beltran are great defenders but having 1/2 of your starting back line available and then also missing some suitable back-ups too. This really leaves RSL exposed and in a tight situation.
People want to really push all the pressure onto Seattle. That’s a complete fallacy. Right now the pressure equally shared and that’s only because we’re going on the road. The Sounders are in the opposite situation. They could see Patrick Ianni and EJ return this coming week and the attack, despite being unable to net any goals, was sharp and showed the ability to disrupt and caused problems against a very good defence that was on it’s best game.
Let’s take a step back off the ledge and try to remember that we still have a good chance at seeing the next round. Thursday has little to do with last year and previous performances in the playoffs, except for supplying emotional fuel to feed the fire of the atmosphere of Rio Tinto and the enthusiasm of the players, it’s not about the fact Fredy Montero hasn’t scored a goal in the playoffs, and it’s not about “inexperience” of Christian Tiffert or Mauro Rosales in the playoffs.
It’s about what is now. It’s about the veterans on this team playing to their abilities. It’s about a team being effective in their attacking efforts. Remember this when reading through all the articles this week.