BY Steve Rudman 07:25AM 03/23/2011

Nobody Asks But Us: Scoreless in Seattle

Seattle among leaders in times whitewashed since entering MLS.

Fredy Montero is Seattle's only major goal-scoring threat -- and he's not nearly enough / Drew Sellers, Sportspress Northwest

The Sounders have played two matches, lost twice (to the Los Angeles Galaxy and New York Red Bulls), and have yet to score despite taking nine shots on goal. The Sounders also had trouble finishing last year. Since entering MLS in 2009, hasn’t Seattle been shut out more times than any team in Major League Soccer?

We live in sporting era (it seems more like an age) in which almost all of the local teams have trouble scoring. The Seahawks can barely generate a touchdown, the Mariners can’t get a hit (much less a home run), and the Sounders locate the back of the net about as often as Brendan Sherrer dunks for the UW basketball team.

But no, the Sounders haven’t been blanked more times than any of their rivals: it just seems that way, which is why Stanley Holmes, Sportspress Northwest’s estimable soccer scribe, called on the team the other day to — please! — go sign a big-time striker before the 2011 season implodes on itself (see column).

Stanley’s point: As good as Fredy Montero is, he has yet to develop into a world-class goal scorer, and the acquisition of such an animal would go a long ways to helping Montero achieve that ambition.

[table id=1 /](Consider this: In the season opener, the Galaxy defeated Seattle 1-0 with just two shots on goal. The Red Bulls knocked off the Sounders 1-0, also with two shots on goal. The Sounders so far have a 9-4 advantage in shots on goal, but two shutouts and no points to show for it).

Since entering MLS (and counting MLS regular season and playoff action only), the Sounders have failed to score a goal in 18 matches — nine times in 2009, seven times in 2010 and twice this year. Oddly enough, the New York Red Bulls, one of the favorites to win this year’s MLS Cup, have been shut out 23 times over the same span (the Red Bulls were dreadful in 2009, suffering 14 blankings).

In all, 15 MLS teams (we’re not counting 2011 Cascadia expansion clubs Vancouver and Portland), have reached double figures in whitewashes. On this dubious list, the Sounders rank sixth, one gooseegg below the Chicago Fire (19) and two ahead of the Houston Dynamo (16), Seattle’s next opponent (Friday at Qwest Field).

Since 2009, the Major League Soccer teams that have been zeroed — or “nilled” — the most:

Team 2009 SHO 2010 SHO 2011 SHO Total
New York Red Bulls 14 9 0 23
Toronto FC 10 12 0 22
Chivas USA 10 11 0 21
Sporting Kansas City 10 10 0 20
Chicago Fire 9 10 0 19
SOUNDERS FC 9 7 2 18
Houston Dynamo 9 7 0 16
D.C. United 4 12 0 16
Los Angeles Galaxy 6 9 0 15
Columbus Crew 5 9 0 14
San Jose Earthquakes 3 11 0 14
Real Salt Lake 11 2 0 13
NE Revolution 8 4 0 12
Dallas FC 6 4 0 10
Colorado Rapids 5 5 0 10

While only five MLS franchises have suffered more shutouts than the Sounders since 2009, Seattle is one of just seven clubs with a positive goal differential (GD) over the same period, +11 (but -2 this season).

If that’s the good news, the bad news is that Real Salt Lake, the overwhelming leader in this category, has a goal differential three times greater than Seattle’s, while the L.A. Galaxy’s goal differential is twice as impressive. Goal differential for all MLS clubs (except the Whitecaps and Timbers) since 2009:

Team 2009 GD 2010 GD 2011 GD Total GD
Real Salt Lake +8 +25 +1 +33
Los Angeles Galaxy +5 +18 +1 +24
Colorado Rapids +4 +12 +2 +18
Dallas FC +4 +14 0 +18
Columbus Crew +10 +6 -2 +14
SOUNDERS FC +9 +4 -2 +11
Chicago Fire +5 -1 0 +4
Houston Dynamo +10 -9 -1 0
Sporting Kansas City -9 +1 +1 -7
New York Red Bulls -20 +9 +1 -10
Chivas USA +3 -14 -1 -12
San Jose Earthquakes -14 +1 -1 -14
Toronto FC -9 -8 -2 -19
NE Revolution -4 -18 0 -22
D.C. United -1 -26 +2 -25

As the chart illustrates, several MLS clubs are deep in minus territory when it comes to goal differential. To that we say, so what? We don’t care about the New England Revolution or D.C. United, or whether they’re -10 or -50. We are only concerned with the Sounders. And, as Stanley Holmes argued, the Sounders need a world-class striker, or at least an individual who can take the pressure off Montero.


  • This is good stuff. Is there any way you could get shots/goals ratios? I didn’t think the Sounders finishing ‘woes’ will be very different from the rest of the league.