Are Sounders FC’s Recent Struggles a “Perfect Storm”?

If Sounders General Manager Garth Lagerway had his way, then Sounders Nation wouldn’t be too concerned about the Sounders’ recent struggles, which includes four losses in the last five games.

Nice try, Lager, but despite our still extremely fortuitous spot in the Supporters’ Shield race …Screen Shot 2015-07-16 at 9.46.02 AM

we know that there are bigger issues at hand, namely, we can’t win at all without Oba and Dempsey. But Lagerway wants you to see this season for the big picture, not for the individual peaks and valleys along the way.

“It’s baseball plus a month,” Lagerway recently told reporters, referring to the March – October season (not counting the MLS playoffs).

So while some of us in Sounders nation are panicking over the Sounders’ play of late, our fearless GM is not one of them.

“I’ve said I try not to pay attention to the result of games,” Lagerway said, as reported by Seattle Times’ Larry Stone. “We were in first place when the streak started, and we’re in first place now.”

True. Very true. However, Lagerway also understands that the margin of error has all but disappeared as the season churns on.

Forget the Supporters Shield

With their recent losses, the Sounders may have made it all but impossible to defend their Supporters Shield title, but does that really matter? Not according to Lagerway. When he was appointed as GM this past winter, he was quick to

state that his goal was to win the MLS Cup. Of course, missing Marco Pappa, Clint Dempsey, Brad Evans and (unexpectedly) Obafemi Martins for the better part of two months doesn’t make it any easier.

As Lagerway put it, winning the Shield is like winning the pennant in baseball. That’s a great achievement for any team, but for the higher caliber teams, like Seattle, the real goal is winning the World Series (or, in this case, the MLS Cup).

Hey Sounders fans, missing players to international duty is good for the team … really

Lagerway really does like to focus on the big picture, which is one of the reasons we hired him. As he puts it, having players called up to international duty increases their market value, if and when we want to unload them for new players. Of course, in Seattle’s case, that’s not really the case. Dempsey’s stock is already at its peak, and Brad Evans’ age won’t make him attractive to any buyers out there. Regardless, I see Lagerway’s point, despite disagreeing that we benefit from missing our players this month.

As Lagerway sees it, the Sounders are currently facing a perfect storm of circumstances, which is the norm in a relentless MLS season. In the end, all that matters is that the Sounders make the playoffs and enter the post-season healthy and ready to compete. Unfortunately, the Western Conference is extremely competitive, meaning Seattle can’t afford to suffer another two months like we have this summer.

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