Morning Raving Readers and sorry for the late post. Last night I became entangled with last minute adventures in home ownership.
These are the Seattle Sounders we’ve all been waiting for. The Sounders sit atop the table in both points and PPG. They have allowed the fewest goals in the league, 9, and are tied for the most scored, 18. Seattle displays the capacity to play attacking, possession-based soccer and gritty play-to-zero slugfests. After 12 games, it is a little too late to say it is too early. The Sounders look good and it matters.
This Sunday in Sodo our boys will have their first challenge as kings of the mountain when the New York Red Bulls come to town. Unlike recent seasons, I find it hard to dislike the New York Red Bulls. Maybe it is the new money kids in town, but my anger is dulling at their corporate name and unfortunate location.
I didn’t agree with the firing of Mike Petke however. Petke had taken a perennially underachieving club and turned them into winners. The 2013 Supporters’ Shield was NYRB first ever piece of silverware, a major accomplishment for an MLS original club. Last season, though NYRB slumped somewhat in the regular season, they made a deep playoff run only falling to New England 4-3 on aggregate in the Eastern Conference Finals. Petke was 30-19-19 in two seasons in North Jersey and his dismissal made no sense.
That said Jesse Marsch is a solid coach (and was pretty funny on those Road to Brazil features last summer on MLS.com.) You can’t argue that Marsch is winning with Petke’s squad. The 2015 roster has no Thierry Henry or Tim Cahill. BWP is still playing well, and the squad is clearly better with Sacha Kljestan, but they are playing different than when Titi ruled the roost.
The Red Bulls like to press and press and press. High pressure used to befuddle the hell out of the Sounders (think of those 2013 matchups with Portland). Not so much in 2015. With deft ball handlers on the backline (Evans, Mears, Marshall) Seattle is far less flustered by high pressure (*cough* Jhon Kennedy Hurtado *cough*) and able to exploit an opponent’s pesky forays.
Marsch says he’ll have his side attack. Maybe he thinks he can take advantage of a sleepy Sounders quad (it’ll be our third game in 8 days), because pressuring us at full strength just seems silly.