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After another scoreless game, Sounders fans should panic

The Sounders kept Columbus scoreless Saturday, but they failed to score themselves. (AP)

Another Sounders game, another disappointing, uninspired performance. The problems are obvious, but unaddressed.

After a scoreless draw against the Columbus Crew, who were down a man the majority of the match, it’s no longer premature for Sounders fans to be concerned and start to panic.

Photo gallery: Sounders draw with Columbus

The Crew were incredibly disciplined. Defensively they had five at the back, and thanks to their bright yellow jerseys you could see how well their back line held. The Sounders couldn’t penetrate. Why? They didn’t appear to change tactics after the Crew lost midfielder Pedro Santos to a deserved red card. On offense, they went three at the back and looked dangerous. They could have had two or three great opportunities that could have won them the game.

What’s worse, the Sounders were painfully predictable on offense. They’d offer up the ball to Kelvin Leerdam and then try to send in a cross. Only they weren’t even trying to get creative and they were way too slow on the ball. When one touch was necessary, they’d take two or three, slowing down their attack, making it easy for the Crew to stay compact.

“We’ve got to be willing to take chances, get some creativity, some flair,” said a frustrated Will Bruin after the game. “We’ve got to pass and move, we’ve got to try things, we are too caught up with playing the simple pass, ‘I’m not going to make the mistake and move it to the next guy.’ You aren’t going to score like that, it’s too easy to defend. It was a prime example tonight.”

The Sounders have been unable to score goals this season. Part of that comes from Clint Dempsey’s inability to consistently perform. But the problem goes deeper: the Sounders have no pace without Jordan Morris. Bruin is a proven goalscorer, but he doesn’t have the pace Morris did. If he’s in the box with the ball, he’ll score, but if the attack is neutered and slow, he seldom gets any opportunity. It is alarming and the Sounders aren’t making progress.

Now, Nico Lodeiro is out with a foot injury and we’re unlikely to see Roman Torres until after the World Cup – if we see him with the team again at all. There are lots of rumors swirling about his future that I’ll tackle in a future column.

So where’s the light at the end of the tunnel? These three points were crucial and the Sounders ended up with just one point. If they don’t win on Wednesday at Toronto FC, this could be an early end for the Sounders 2018 season. And yes, I’ve heard the claim that the Sounders have been in serious situations like this in recent seasons, but there’s a key difference. In the past, they were still scoring goals, even if struggling.

Fans are angry and concerned. They ought to be.

Reasons for Hope: Hopefully, the Sounders sign a couple meaningful DPs that end up actually helping the team. Kim Kee Hee looks good at center back (and should start over Torres). Cristian and Alex Roldan continue to shine.

Reasons to Worry: The Sounders aren’t scoring goals, Dempsey looks uninspired, Bruin isn’t getting the support he needs, and Nouhou’s “promise” is over-hyped. Lodeiro may be out for the upcoming crucial games. There’s no reason to believe things will get better yet.

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