Your Seattle Sounders are the 2014 MLS Apertura Champions, their first of many titles! Ok, so that’s a fake thing, but in this lull between Sounders soccer and the World Cup, I’d like to provide my official Seattle Sounders Midseason Report. Technically game 17 is the exact middle, but with the break, and inevitable post-World Cup signings changing the league, this is a perfect chance for reflection on the first half of 2014.
Previous incarnations of the Sounders can be succinctly categorized thusly:
2009: An auspicious beginning. Plucky, upstart expansion team revolutionizes the league and makes the playoffs.
2010: A forgettable season. Rough, rough start that Blaise Nkufo saves post-World Cup to keep the playoff streak alive.
2011: The beautiful game. Slow start before a strong finish from a beautiful attacking team, with a surprisingly solid defense, consisting of: Flacco, Montero, Rosales and Friberg.
2012: The Eddie and Fredy show. Arguably our best team yet, potent offense and stingy defense yields our first a playoff series victory. A dicey handball call ends this promising season.
2013: The team that couldn’t run through walls. So much potential, Oba, Eddie, Dempsey, Deuce, that just fell flat.
2014: How will we remember 2014? Let’s take a look at the numbers (click to enbiggen):
Through 15 games, the Sounders have the most points, the most wins, the most goals for, and the best goal differential in franchise history. Our 32 GF doubles the GF we scored in 2010 and 2011, and 2011’s team was no slouch. Our goal differential more than doubles that of 2012 and 2013, two other very strong Sounders teams.
The team’s only real problem is the goal against. 22 GA is our second worst in franchise history. This dubious number puts Seattle at 14th overall in MLS with only Portland, Chivas, Dallas, Chicago, Philly and Houston worse. And Dallas, Philly and Houston have all played one more game than Seattle! That said, Portland, Chivas and Chicago have terrible, turrrible, defense as they have played as many as two games less, but shipped more goals! I’d worry about this stat, but our goal differential is sublime. Seattle has committed to a “we will score more goals than you” mentality. As long as we can win barn burners, we’ll be fine.
It may be early for such prognostication, but I firmly believe the Sounders can keep up this championship pace. Coach Sigi Schmid’s teams are traditionally strong finishers (2013 excepted), and I see little reason why that can’t continue in 2014. Our chemistry is super, our team is deep, our sports science/conditioning seems light years ahead of previous seasons, and Dempsey and Yedlin are coming back. Who knows, maybe we sign an awesome post-World Cup centerback and we make that defense match the record-setting offense!
Seattle is on pace for 72 points. That would break the lofty record of 68 points held by the 1998 LA Galaxy for Supporters Shield by points (68 at 2.12 ppg). At 2.13 ppg, we are just a fraction of a sliver of a hair over their pace. Wow. And we’re doing this in the modern MLS with Dempseys and Henrys and Bradleys, oh my!
Enjoy this MLS break: brag, dance, giggle and fart. The Sounders cannot be knock form the top for three whole weeks. How do I hope to remember this season?
2014: Seattle delivers their first, of many, MLS championships.