Sounders FC Lose to the Best

Major League Soccer has just announced that Portland Timbers forward Fanendo “My Chainsaw’s Bigger Than Yours” Adi was voted Player of the Week. The honor comes after Adi’s 3rd brace of the season, within a 3-minute span that saw Portland pick apart the Sounders 4-1 on Sunday night. It also saw Adi do something that, as a Sounders fan, I have to admit was pretty bad-ass:

Adi becomes the Timbers’ first player to earn the nod this season. But, as Sounders fans, why should we care? Well, because if you’re going to lose, at least lose to the best. Adi had one of his best games this weekend. Yeah, it sucks that it came against us, but at least I can place some justification to the debacle that was that game.

Last week was a different story. Losing 1-0 to Philadelphia is akin to losing to a team of 40-something, overweight men looking for an excuse to get out of the house. No offense, Philly. Wait, never mind. Yes, offense.

The Union are just about the worst team in the league, meaning that even a severely hobbled good team, like the Sounders, should have walked away from that game with at least a point.

The Timbers, on the other hand, are hotter than the bonfire we’ll build when we play them again at Century Link. A look over the last 6 weeks will help paint a picture:

  • The Timbers are 5-1 while the Sounders 2-4.

This statistic right here helps us to see why the Timbers now sit soundly in 3rd place in the Western Conference, after a rather dismal and uninspired start:

Screen Shot 2015-06-30 at 9.18.47 AM

The image above tells us a lot of important information that should be on our minds as we get our star players back:

  • The Sounders no longer have the highest PPG average
  • Despite Stefan Frei being the best keeper in the business (his 70 saves are 11 more than his closest competitor) the Sounders have still let up more goals than Cascadia rival Vancouver Whitecaps.

What does this mean? It means we’re pretty hobbled, and, to be frank, the holes can be found throughout the entire field. In watching the Women’s World Cup over the last few weeks, I’ve come to realize how impactful a gelled defensive unit is, particularly when one player is clearly the standout (Julie Johnston).

I can’t say that for the Sounders right now. That pains me to say it, as Chad Marshall is one of my favorite players in the MLS. But this past week’s performance was, in my opinion, one of his worst. He made mistakes, seemed flatfooted, and was clearly not in sync with his brethren.

The midfield is a debacle, largely due to the lack of Alonso and the need to acclimate Thomas. And the strikers … well, let’s just say that Lamar Neagle’s goal this past weekend was the first time all year the team scored when Oba and Dempsey weren’t on the field.

Not good.

We have FC Dallas next, who are flirting with that red line in the standings, but who can easily quiet the crowd at Century Link in a heartbeat. Make no mistake: The game Friday night is the biggest of the year. Sounders Nation is not accustomed to their team losing at home. We’ve swallowed that pill one too many times this year, at the hands of teams (ahem, San Jose) that didn’t deserve the honor of beating us.

Friday’s game is about proving we are still the baddest unit in the league.