Saturday, March 14th, against the San Jose Earthquakes, the Sounders were defeated 3-2 even though they were up a man. As the shock and heartbreak has started to wear off, we examine several things that went wrong:
The Brad Evans Experiment
Brad Evans had one of the worst games a Center Back can have. The first goal left him positioned incorrectly and let Wondo (San Jose’s Chris Wondolowski) slide in for an open opportunity. It wasn’t the boulder that broke the dam, but it definitely put a major chip in it.
It was the Quakes who figured out that they could win the 50/50 balls becuase Evans lacks one true thing that every CB needs: physicality. Soon, the flood started as Brad started losing possession off the dribble, and he was horrible in his positioning.
All 3 goals that San Jose scored can be blamed on Evans. Coach Sigi wants Brad as his general on the field, but at this point, he needs to take a lesson from Herb Brooks and the 1980 men’s hockey team.
“I’m not looking for the best players; I’m looking for the right players.”
There will be growing pains with Evans at CB and we are only two games in, but the question during this championship run is why are we even experimenting? Or should we go to Zach Scott?
The Sounders Missed Sigi Schmit’s In-game Tactics
The Sounders played this game without Sigi in attendance; and it showed! Players looked out of position, such as Brad Evans. Other players such as Mears and Pappa failed to work together, and Neagle needed to be taken out earlier.
Then the Rave Green started playing the long ball. The Quakes gave 20 yards to drive the ball up the middle and the Sounders would just kick the ball in the middle of the box hoping for one our heads to land on the ball. Unfortunately, each and every ball found a Quake defender and harmlessly was headed from danger.
Where did the Overlapping Go?
Against San Jose, we saw a different Sounders team than we saw a week ago versus New England. On the right wing, Tyronne Mears and Marco Pappa did not mesh well; their communication was off; Pappa often failed to pinch in to allow Mears to overlap him.
Most frustratingly, the Sounders couldn’t capitalize in the midfield when the Quakes were a man down. They made bad passes and couldn’t possess the ball. Alonso was missed last night in the midfield, and with out him the heart of the team was missed.
On the left, Lamar Neagle couldn’t find the holes to create runs and soon it was the same thing every time down the field; he was unable to pass the ball around the horse or get it in the box. The game changed when Barrett came running on the field with the heart the Sounders needed. The golden locked Barrett reminded long time fans of Fucito as he made runs and opening up the defense–the Sounders began charging and creating chances.
Ultimately, there was a lot of mistakes made and poor soccer played. The problems identified need to be cleaned up and taken care of. As the Sounders are defending the Supporter’s Shield, they will receive every team’s best efforts. The Sounders need to play their best if they hope to earn hardware in 2015.