Three of Major League Soccer’s 18 teams haven’t scored a goal this season, and two of them will meet tonight at Qwest Field.
And while the Houston Dynamo and Seattle Sounders FC will be looking for their first goals and first points in the standings, the urgency seems greater for the Sounders, who are one of two MLS teams to have already played two games. The other – Los Angeles – has two goals and four points, including a win at Seattle in the opener.
For the Sounders, there is the added embarrassment of looking up at expansion rivals Vancouver in the Western Conference standings and seeing the Whitecaps atop the league with four goals.
Given all that, coach Sigi Schmid is eager to turn things around. But he’s also quick to stress that fans and media shouldn’t overreact to the first 180 minutes of a 34-game season.
“People push the button real quick,” he said Thursday. “There’s 96 points out there. There’s more than enough points that are there. You got to look at a body of time. When you get four or five games into it, then you sit there and say it’s either working or not working. But we haven’t been able to put our best 11 on the field yet, and once we get our best 11 on the field, then we will also be better able to judge.”
Schmid said the Sounders won’t have their best 11 on the field tonight either, but they’re getting closer. Forward Nate Jaqua (hip) will be in uniform for the first time, while Steve Zakuani (hip) and Pat Noonan (adductor) are listed as probable.
Jaqua would add important elements of size and toughness that come in handy against his former club, which is traditionally among the most physical teams in MLS.
The Dynamo lost its opener, 1-0, at home to Philadelphia.
“I know Houston very well, and it’s one of those that is always kind of a fight,” Jaqua said. “But that’s where a lot of the games that I play in are at. They want me up there, they want me taking kind of the brunt of it and knocking things down. And I think (O’Brian White) has done a very good job of that this year, as well. You know you’re going to get that from Houston. Deal with it.”
White has started Seattle’s first two games at forward alongside Fredy Montero.
Montero has fired seven times and put six on goal – both league highs – while White has taken four shots and put two on goal. As a team, Seattle has launched 21 shots with 11 on goal.
Those totals back up Schmid’s point that the Sounders are getting chances. However, everyone on the team understands it’s time for some of those opportunities to turn into goals.
“Sometimes it’s frustrating,” White said. “But you can’t get too frustrated because that would take your mind off the game. You’ve got to be disappointed when you don’t score, especially in two games. But you’ve got to use it as motivation. Sometimes you just need one to get going.”
The Sounders’ history supports that. In the club’s three previous instances of being held scoreless in consecutive games, the Sounders have ended the streak with multigoal games, scoring an average of 2.3 goals.
MEXICO TO VISIT
The national team of Mexico will meet Ecuador at 4 p.m. May 28 at Qwest Field, it was announced Thursday.
Tickets go on sale today through Ticketmaster.
Mexico’s last appearance in Seattle came in 2008, when a crowd of almost 60,000 turned out to watch El Tri’s 1-0 win over China.
Also on May 28, the Sounders will play a 6 p.m. game at Real Salt Lake.