Even though Sounders FC is currently in third place in the Western Conference, there is always room for improvement.
Perhaps the biggest need is goal production from the Seattle forwards. They have accounted for four of the team’s 18 goals this season, the lowest total in Major League Soccer.
Fredy Montero is the only active forward to have scored. He has a total of two goals. However, he has not hit the back of the net since May 7, six games ago. The goal drought is the second longest of his career; he went a stretch of seven games last season without a score. O’Brian White also has two goals, but he has been inactive since he had surgery April 28 to remove a blood clot in his left leg.
Sounders coach Sigi Schmid said the problem cannot be attributed to just one or two players.
“It’s always a team thing. It’s never one individual or another individual,” Schmid said. “It’s do we get forward with enough numbers? Are we getting forward as a group? Are we getting forward on the counterattack? Sometimes, (you’ve) got to be quick to get your shot off. Sometimes, (you’ve) got to have a little bit of patience to get your shot off.”
Getting shots doesn’t seem to be a big issue for the forwards. They’ve taken 89 shots this season, an average of 5.6 per match. The bigger problem is scoring.
Of their 32 shots on goal, only 13 percent have hit the back of the net for Sounders forwards. A statistical analysis shows this is the lowest percentage in MLS. Chicago forwards are next lowest at 20 percent. The scoring average for forwards on most clubs is between 30 and 40 percent.
Besides ranking last in percentage of forwards’ shots reaching the net, Sounders forwards score a goal only once every four games, an output that again is in the statistical cellar. New England forwards are next, scoring a goal every 2.8 games.
The Seattle fowards’ production is down considerably from last year’s total of a goal every 1.5 games, which is about the league average this season.
With the MLS transfer window fast approaching, Sounders general manager Adrian Hanauer said the team will certainly be looking at forwards.
“Interestingly enough, I’m not sure there are any teams in the league today who would say we’re banging away as many goals as we’d like,” Hanauer said. “And it goes in cycles. A team will go on a run and score 11 goals in four games, and then they might get shut out in four games in a row.
“That was a very long way of saying, yes, we are still interested in adding a forward. Again, if he checks all of the boxes.”
Chris Wells: 253-597-8680 firstname.lastname@example.org