By JOSE M. ROMERO
The reeling Seattle Sounders continue to look to resolve its scoring deficiencies as it heads into the final two matches – both at home – before the World Cup break.
While there were chances aplenty against San Jose at Qwest Field on May 22, the team's most recent MLS match was a stinker. Nine shots, only one of those on goal in a 1-0 loss to Colorado last Saturday in Commerce City. The Rave Green's night in the greater Denver area was epitomized by bruising forward Conor Casey bowling over Seattle defender Jeff Parke en route to the game-winning goal in the 63rd minute.
Seattle is 1-4-1 in its past six matches and talk of the sophomore slump or jinx or second-year blues, etc. is rampant. There is also talk that the Sounders, with one goal in its past four MLS matches, is missing the scoring punch that Sebastien Le Toux took with him to the Philadelphia Union when Seattle left the popular Frenchman unprotected in this year's expansion draft.
It's hard to quantify just what the infusion of Le Toux at forward, his more natural position though he was used mainly on the midfield wing last season, would mean to the 2010 Sounders given what they already have on the roster and what Le Toux's playing time would be.
But Le Toux is in the top 10 in the league in scoring with five goals, even though he's played in just six games. Last season he had one goal in 28 MLS matches but was more of a factor in U.S. Open Cup games.
“I think it would be disingenuous to say we couldn’t use (five) goals and a couple of assists,” Sounders FC GM Adrian Hanauer told the Tacoma News Tribune. “That said, we certainly didn’t anticipate some of the injuries we’ve had.”
Periodic glances at Le Toux's Facebook page reveal posts that wish the Seattle USL-1 fan favorite well in Philly, and others pine for his return to the Northwest. "The Sounders need you," says one commenter.
Not happening. Not this year anyway. Seattle will have to find scoring from other sources if its established shooters, Fredy Montero and Steve Zakuani, can't increase their production. Those others, at least over the next couple of games, will have to be midfielders Brad Evans, Sanna Nyassi and Pat Noonan, with more needed from Freddie Ljungberg as far as creating opportunities for his mates.
There were some good signs of life in the Rave Green at Dick's Sporting Goods Park. Patrick Ianni almost converted in the 38th minute, Ljungberg might have scored off Zakuani's fine feed if not for the quickness of defender Marvell Wynne, who recovered to disrupt the shot, and Montero overshot the net in the 68th minute. The officials also opted not to call what could have been a handball in the box against the Rapids in the second half.
Still, nine goals for the season in 11 games and a failure to score at home in the past 266 minutes is not going to satisfy the masses in the Brougham End and everywhere else. The bright side is that Sounders FC's next two opponents are from the Eastern Conference, which is the weaker of the two thus far. It's New England (3-6-2) Saturday followed by the least successful team in MLS at present, D.C. United (2-8-0) on June 10, two teams which give Sounders FC a good shot at going into the break with six more points.