By Money Mike
The Sounders started the month on a high note with wins over the LA Galaxy, the Philadelphia Union and FC Dallas. Since then, they have struggled to produce as they are winless in their last four MLS matches. After a long month where the Sounders had to play a total of eight matches, including the U.S. Open Cup, I'm going to look back and give you guys some positives (Bryan Meredith filling in very well in goal) and negatives (lack of finishing and poor defending) from this past month and look ahead to what we have going on for the month of June, including Steve Zakuani's road to recovery.
Back on May 2nd against the LA Galaxy, Bryan Meredith came on as a halftime sub for Michael Gspurning after he suffered a hip injury. He was ruled out for 2-3 weeks, but I wasn't surprised that Meredith got the start in goal for the rest of the month. Since filling in, Meredith has done an excellent job as he finished the month with a GAA of 0.92 in six starts and he also has a couple of clean sheets. The Sounders have dealt with their goalkeeping crisis since the end of last season starting with Terry Boss's season ending concussion which also forced him to retire. Josh Ford has been dealing with a few injuries as well and Andrew Weber has had ankle problems that dropped him to the #3 spot in the Depth Chart. I still remember Bryan Meredith making his debut against Monterrey in the final Champions League group stage match and putting together a great performance between the pipes because he just joined the team at the time following Kitsap Pumas PDL Championship run. I've been impressed with this kid and I think he has a great future ahead of him, but unfortunately he won't be in goal much longer when Gspurning returns in a couple of weeks.
I think Fredy Montero has had a solid month for the Sounders and has answered all the stupid and unnecessary critics with four goals and three assists during the month. People have been calling him lazy and I will say that he hasn't been aggressive at the start of the season, but last month was a different story as he really began to challenge the defenders and test the goalkeepers. The Montero/Johnson partnership has had its ups and downs during the month, but I think it will start to take shape as summer rolls around. Montero has been accounted for six of the seven goals Seattle has scored in league play last month.
I'm not sure what to make of this. Last four MLS matches, poor defending and on the other side, poor finishing. This is definitely not the Sounders team we saw at the last half of the 2011 season all the way up to the midweek road match against FC Dallas. On the defensive side, the man who has disappointed me the most is Adam Johansson. He has been caught napping in his last three starts and those three times he got caught, the opposition went ahead and scored. He is 10 times better than that. The coaching staff needs to get in his head, get him fired up or whatever. They need to do something because getting caught in three straight matches is ridiculous. The defense needs to wake up and the offense needs to finish when they get the chance.
Western Conference standings:
1. Real Salt Lake, 9-3-2 (29 pts) GF 22 GA 14 GD 8
2. San Jose Earthquakes, 8-3-3 (27 pts) GF 27 GA 17 GD 10
3. Seattle Sounders FC, 7-3-3 (24 pts) GF 16 GA 9 GD 7
4. Colorado Rapids, 6-6-1 (19 pts) GF 20 GA 18 GD 2
5. Vancouver Whitecaps, 5-3-4 (19 pts) GF 13 GA 14 GD -1
6. Chivas USA, 4-6-3 (15 pts) GF 9 GA 14 GD -5
7. Portland Timbers, 3-5-4 (13 pts) GF 12 GA 15 GD -3
8. FC Dallas, 3-8-4 (13 pts) GF 15 GA 24 GD -9
9. Los Angeles Galaxy, 3-8-2 (11 pts) GF 15 GA 21 GD -6
Look ahead to the month of June:
There's really not much going on this month unlike last month. All we have are four league matches and a couple of U.S. Open Cup matches as well, unless the Sounders end of losing to Cal FC this Tuesday.
Upcoming schedule: June 2012
June 5 vs Cal FC, 7:00pm (soundersfc.com, FOX Soccer)*
June 16 @ Montreal Impact, 4:30pm (KONG TV)
June 20 vs Sporting Kansas City, 7:00pm (KONG TV)
June 24 @ Portland Timbers, 2:00pm (ESPN)
June 30 @ New England Revolution, 4:30pm (KONG TV)
Note: * - U.S. Open Cup match
Now this is huge for the Sounders. Last night Steve Zakuani appeared in a reserve match against the Whitecaps reserves and played a full 45 minutes. It was great to see him back out there as he winds down his long road to recovery from that broken leg he suffered April 23rd of last year. With the struggles the Sounders have gone through late last month and the fact that they have yet to get past the MLS Cup Quarterfinal, having Zakuani back will be a major boost for the Seattle Sounders on their road to MLS Cup 2012.