Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - The Seattle Sounders find themselves in
a bit of unfamiliar territory.
Through the first five matches of the season, Seattle is 0-3-2 with just two
points as they sit in the basement of the Major League Soccer standings.
Now in their fifth season in MLS, Seattle has made the postseason every year
and has never started a season this poorly.
Last Saturday's match against the New England Revolution at CenturyLink Field
represented a prime opportunity for the Rave Green to finally take three
points and jump start their season. But the result, a 0-0 stalemate, left
many scratching their heads as to what has happened to the once mighty
Head coach Sigi Schmid believes his team will come around.
"We have to keep working on it," he told the league's official website
following Monday's training session. "We just wanted to do something close to
goal, work on finishing, get some patterns in. We have to continue to work on
these things until the ice breaks."
Schmid's team certainly could use the practice when it comes to finishing
chances as the Sounders have scored just two goals all season.
Injuries have taken an early toll as forwards Eddie Johnson, David Estrada and
Obafemi Martins and midfielder Brad Evans have each missed two league games --
something Schmid believes has contributed to his club's subpar start.
"You can't say once those guys come back, all our problems are solved," Schmid
admitted. "We haven't had a chance to work on any of these combinations with
the whole group. We've had to mix the lineup up all the time. We haven't had
Some observers may view those remarks from the Seattle boss as excuses, but
there is one player missing this season whose absence is being felt much more
than the Seattle front office or coaching staff will let on.
Colombian striker Fredy Montero.
Montero left the Sounders prior to the start of the season when he was sent on
a season-long loan to Colombian club Millonarios in hopes of making an
impression on Colombian National squad coach Jose Pekerman ahead of the 2014
Montero arrived in Seattle ahead of the club's 2009 inaugural season from
Colombian side Deportivo Cali and quickly became one of the most impactful
players on the squad.
Over his four seasons in the Emerald City, Montero is the club's all-time
leading scorer with 47 goals in league play - the third-most goals in MLS
He also notched 60 goals with 43 assists in all competitions to lead the team
and had a knack for finding clutch goals for his team -- recording 23 game-
winning goals and 12 game-winning assists in all competitions.
Montero was the one player on the pitch who the opposition always needed to
pay attention to, the type of player who could turn a broken play into a goal
very quickly. But with that type of threat gone, the Sounders offense is
Martins, 28, was brought in from La Liga side Levante and has significant
experience in Europe with Inter Milan, Newcastle United, Wolfsburg and
Russia's Rubin Kazan.
He also was given the club's third Designated Player tag, a title which comes
with much more pressure to perform and even higher expectations from fans and
the front office.
The Nigerian attacker played 20 minutes in his first appearance with the club
-- a 1-1 draw on March 16 against the Portland Timbers -- as well as 90
minutes against Real Salt Lake on March 30, but has recently been sidelined
with a knee injury.
Martins is the type of player who is capable of putting up offensive numbers
similar to that of Montero, but for that to occur, he needs to get healthy and
find his form quickly.
He will certainly give his club a boost if he is able to suit up for Saturday's
match against the Colorado Rapids, a team against which Seattle is perfectly
capable of securing three points.
For now, however, the Sounders are finding Montero's void extremely difficult
The Sports Network