The Seattle Sounders are weighing in as one of the underperformers of the season. After serving as a MLS heavyweight for years, they just have not been able to hit the same heights. And it’s easy to see why. The Sounders have bid adieu to Lamar Neagle and Obafemi Martins and they have not replaced them fully.
What once was a beautiful offensive triangle of Neagle, Martins and Dempsey is now a makeshift combination of Jordan Morris, Andreas Ivanschitz and the constant, Clint Dempsey. The problem with this new combination is that the two moving parts are brand new. Morris is a youngster that just recently netted his first goal. The potential is there but expecting him to fill in for Obafemi Martins is a bit absurd, at least right away.
That’s not to say he cannot do it though, and he has certainly showed glimpses of what has the USMNT so excited about their young striker.
Moving back, we get to Andreas Ivanschitz, the venerable midfielder. Ivanschitz made the trek to America last year, although injuries delayed his debut until September of 2015. Even then, he was a part of a Sounders offense that was still heavily manned with the trio mentioned above, where the speed of Neagle, the all-around ability of Dempsey and the finishing of Martins propelled the team.
Now that that trio has broken up, Ivanschitz is doing his best to be a major contributing factor to a struggling Sounders’ cause. He has been moved around from left wing to attacking midfield, but wherever he ends up, he has been fairly consistent, contributing two and a half chances per appearance, far more than he has ever contributed during his European travels.
Thus far into the season, he already has a goal and three assists, meaning that he has contributed to four of Seattle’s seven goals. That’s a hefty majority and one that should give Seattle a lot of hope that, should Clint Dempsey continue doing his workload and should Morris find his finishing boots, then Seattle will be in good shape.
Ivanschitz has been the catalyst of one of Seattle’s best performances – a 2-1 win over the Philadelphia Union. Ivanschitz created both goals and earned himself a man of the match performance. He creates a chance and a half more than the next leading creative mind on the Sounders.
So while Seattle has struggled to get it going, at the very least they know that they have a healthy flow of chances coming into the goal-scoring area. That is something that you can bank on and it is something that should give them hope that this season can turn around.