The Seattle Sounders opened up the 2015 MLS season with a resounding 3-0 win against the New England Revolution on Sunday March 7th. The Sounders continued the fluid style of play that led them to the Supporters Shield last year and look ready to defend that title. Here are five things we learned on Sunday:
1. Tyrone Mears is a Solid Replacement for DeAndre Yedlin
Mears showed two things that are important to Sounders fans on Sunday:
First, he is more than capable of getting up the wing and helping overlap when Marco Pappa pinches in to the center of midfield.
Secondly, the veteran has the quality on the cross as he contributed to the second goal with a perfectly placed ball to Obafemi Martins.
Mears is a veteran of the English Premier League (EPL) and he showed it in his decision making on Sunday. He knew when to go forward and help in the attack and when to stay. This helped solidify a Sounders back line that struggled to keep a shut out last year.
2. Brad Evans Can Play Center Back. Who knew?
Sigi Schmid knew Brad could play center back; Evans rewarded Sigi with a solid ninety minutes on Sunday. While you can’t really put too many feet wrong when you are standing next to the Defender of the Year Chad Marshall, Evans did enough to keep the shut out and helped the defense hold New England to just one shot on goal.
I still reserve some judgement about Evans at center back. His ability to stand his ground in the center of defense and that will be tested when he plays a stronger center forward pairing than what New England put out on Sunday. However, for the opener Evans did exactly what was needed.
3. Clint Dempsey and Obafemi Martins are still “Feeling It”
Clint and Oba accounted for all three of the Sounder goals on Sunday night including a dazzling third that tore right through the heart of the New England defense. When they add Marco Pappa to the mix, the Sounders look unstoppable going forward.
It is hard to argue against these two being the best striking tandem in MLS and Sunday was just another example of why they are. If Sunday is any indicator of how the season is going to go, then we should be in for a lot of goals and some very pretty soccer.
4. No Alonso, No Problem
Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Alonso is the linchpin of the midfield and was missed on Sunday but Pineda and Azira held it together. There were times that the Sounders were stretched in the midfield with Azira and Pineda hanging too far back creating a gap between the midfield and frontline. This created a problem in supplying Clint and Oba with support but Pappa pinched in to close the gap and fill the space.
5. Sounders still Struggling to clear the Ball
The real scary moments on Sunday came when the ball was coming in from the corner. It was a point of emphasis last year that never seemed to get cleaned up and it continued on Sunday. The Sounders need to get the ball out of the back and can’t let it bounce around in the box because good teams will punish you for it.
Additionally, Stefan Frei is still shaky in the net and on clearances. He continues to struggle in commanding the six-yard box and doesn’t seem confident when going for the punch clearance.