SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC

The Sounders cancel the Wondo Show in Seattle with dominating 2-0 win

May 8, 2016, 5:31 PM

Jordan Morris will be joined by Sounders teammate Aaron Kovar in the MLS Homegrown Game. (AP)...

Jordan Morris will be joined by Sounders teammate Aaron Kovar in the MLS Homegrown Game. (AP)

(AP)

Just 10 days shy of the last time Seattle managed a win against San Jose, the Sounders roared out of the tunnel at CenturyLink Field with a purpose. I assumed, like many, that San Jose would park the bus in Seattle; what I didn’t expect was Saturday’s toothless attack that barely managed a single shot on target the entire match. Seattle held a solid possession advantage (53 percent), and created 11 chances to San Jose’s six. Erik Friberg’s creative influence played a big part in Seattle’s win, but the scoring form of the forwards is what allowed the home team to dominate their opponents.

Friberg might be Seattle’s most creative player

The loss of midfielder Andreas Ivanschitz the past two matches (though he did have a short late-match cameo against San Jose) was supposed to be dire and worrisome. But in both matches, Erik Friberg stepped up and led the Sounders’ attack from midfield with aplomb. He might not offer the same set-piece threat and occasional solid cross like Ivanschitz does, but Friberg showed that he can play excellent and creative passes all day long.

Jordan. Morris. What else is there to say?

I’m starting to feel like a broken record lately as I sing Morris’ praises every week. But they’re completely deserved. It’s not even a question anymore whether or not the Sounders were right to pursue the Mercer Island native. Nor is it a question whether or not the rookie would struggle in a professional league. Sure, it took him a few matches to get used to the pace and strength of defenders in MLS, but with four goals in his last four games he has tied the league record for goals scored in consecutive games for a rookie player. He’s also tied with Steve Zakuani for goals scored in a single season by a rookie, though Morris has hit that record in nine games while it took Zakuani 29 to tally that number.

I don’t think this is the end of Morris’ goalscoring this season, and I think we can fully expect him to break even more records by the end of the long MLS season. It’s probably too early to talk about Rookie of the Year nominees, but if he keeps it up, Morris could run away with the award.

Mears has become a liability

It hasn’t cost Seattle much (yet), but right-back Tyrone Mears hasn’t had the greatest start to the season. One of last season’s best players for the Sounders, Mears has looked a little vulnerable defensively and fairly unproductive on offense in the past few games. After last week’s horrific crossing, Mears didn’t even attempt a single cross against San Jose. His passing was fairly crisp in the final third (12 of 19), but most of the successful passes were only a few yards. All of his long attempts in and around the box were unsuccessful.

It’s no reason to be concerned right now, but Mears needs to work on his passing and crossing if he wants to keep his place on the side. Oniel Fisher hasn’t played for Seattle’s first team since his red card on opening day, but if Mears doesn’t start producing soon he may see his place taken by the youngster.

Wondolowski may have had his worst match of the season

It’s a little unfair to Chris Wondolowski to judge him on one performance; Brad Evans and Chad Marshall kept the San Jose forward in the pocket for much of the match. But in truth, Wondo had a pretty poor showing that made it fairly easy for Seattle’s defense to keep him at bay. He was clear on goal at one point, but poked his shot right at Stefan Frei, who slid down to block and then gather the forward’s weak shot. And, of course, there’s his penalty miss. This is another area where you can’t really judge the quality of a player — everyone misses penalties at some point.

Either way, San Jose’s captain had numerous opportunities to put his team back in the match, and he failed to convert those chances every time. Wondolowski is still tied with Portland’s Fanendo Adi as top scorer in the season so far, and there’s no reason to think he won’t add to his tally this season. The Sounders are lucky that a player of Wondo’s caliber had one of his few bad matches on Saturday, and it’s more than likely that he’ll remember that when the two teams meet again this season.

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