David Falk has followed soccer in the Puget Sound region since 1974. This blog covers Sounders FC, local college soccer, Seattle Wolves FC, Tacoma Tide FC and Kitsap Pumas. Send tips or comments to: goalseattle@gmail.com
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Seattle Soccer Examiner

Seattle Soccer Examiner

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Take a breath, Sounders fans

Kenji Treschuk looks like a 2009 Sounders FC player.
(Jenni Conner)

The Seattle Sounders don't play a match again until Friday June 20th when they host Miami FC. We are in the middle of a 8-day rest period for the club. Time to take a deep breath, Sounders fans, and look back at how the season has gone so far.

Still alive in the US Open Cup race? Check.
Still alive in the Cascadia Cup race? Check.
Still alive for the Commissioner's Cup? Check.
On-pace to make the playoffs? Check.

The Sounders are just a bit more than 1/3 through their 2008 (and final) USL-1 season. The club's raw numbers look like this:

Record: W-4 L-2 D-5
Home: W-2 L-0 D-2
Away: W-2 L-2 D-3
Goals: For-15 Against-10
Home: For-8 Against-4
Away: For-7 Against-6
Goals Against Average: .909
Goals For Average: 1.36
Place: 4th (17 points)

The Sounders and their fans have got to be pleased with where things stand when you considered the club have played 7 of 11 league matches away.

After a slow start the Sounders have rebounded more quickly than they have from their traditional slow starts in previous seasons.

The team rebound is directly connected to the same step up in performance by striker Sebastien Le Toux. Le Toux began slowly but since then has moved up to third in the league in goals with five.

(See league stats table here.)

However, if I were voting for a team Most Valubale Player after 11 matches and an Open Cup win I'd have to say that Chris Eylander, Josh Gardner and Kenji Treschuk would be on the final list with Le Toux.

In fact, I'd give it to midfielder Treschuk, who not only has two goals (one of them drawing a match in stoppage time in Charleston, the other winning a USOC match at Arizona in extra time) but has kept the Sounders' middle together and made up for defensive challenges due to multiple club injuries or absences. Treschuk's hard as nails play and timely offensive input has put him high up the list of current Sounders who seem destined for Major League Soccer in 2009.

What's next?

When the Sounders return to play on Friday they will jump right back in to the schedule congestion that seems at times to rival the congestion on I-5. June 20th Miami, June 24th Hollywood United, June 28th Montreal, July 1st possible USOC match, July away matches on the 3rd, 5th, 11th, 13th...with a possible USOC match at Qwest Field July 8th.

Looking at the various cup races, the Sounders are hopeful of continuing on in the US Open Cup by beating Hollywood United June 24th at Starfire. If they can then they'd next face Chivas USA July 1st at Starfire.

In the Cascadia Cup race Seattle is 2 points behind the Vancouver Whitecaps (6-4). The Sounders have three cup matches left to play: at Portland August 7 and home to Vancouver August 20 and September 20. If Seattle wins both home matches over the Whitecaps they will retain the Cascadia Cup (a possible goal differential tie-breaker could be necessary). Other scenarios apply, but the local derby cup remains in the Sounders' control.

In the race to retain the Commissioner's Cup and place top of the USL-1 table the Sounders are doing pretty well. With a schedule back-loaded with home matches, including seven straight to end the season, Seattle is poised to make a run.

Despite the annual slow start and the injury bug, and all the focus away from the current club and on the future MLS side, this group of Sounders are pretty much right where they want to be when it comes to results.

The addition of a few new faces in the next month or so could really boost efforts for more hardware in Seattle's final USL-1 campaign.

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