TUKWILA, Wash. — Djimi Traoré has never been known as a goalscorer.
Over the course of a European career that spanned more than a decade, the defender didn't score a single league goal and only found the back of the net a few times in any official competition.
Just 11 matches into his Seattle Sounders career, Traoré has already scored twice.
“I think, for me, it's only a matter of confidence,” the former Malian international told reporters on Friday. “I get to go up for the corners and the free kicks, and ... I've been taking my chances well. So far I'm pleased with it.”
Both of Traoré’s goals have been highly dramatic, the most recent of which was a stoppage-time winner against Sporting Kansas City on Wednesday. The other was a stunning 40-yard volley in CONCACAF Champions League play against Tigres UANL that has been viewed nearly 1.5 million times on YouTube.
“As long as he keeps scoring important goals like that, I’ll be happy for him to score a lot more,” Seattle head coach Sigi Schmid said. “Maybe he has that late blossom of goalscoring.”
Schmid was only half joking. Although the Sounders seem to have pulled out of their early season doldrums – having gone 2-0-2 in their last four league matches – they are still struggling to score. Their six goals is more than only two MLS teams and is three goals fewer than any other Western Conference team.
One of the main problems has been an inability to get a consistent group together. The Sounders have used a different forward pairing in all eight of their matches.
There’s at least a possibility of a ninth pairing being used on Saturday against the San Jose Earthquakes (4 pm ET; WATCH FREE on MLS Live). Eddie Johnson is coming off two 90-minute performances in the last week and Schmid stopped short of saying that any of Obafemi Martins, Steve Zakuani and Shalrie Joseph were definitely ready to start.
“Everybody wants to play now that we’ve won,” Schmid said. “We haven’t lost, so everyone is feeling a lot healthier.
“There will be some tough decisions that we have to make because there’s some guys that have played well that don’t necessarily deserve to lose their spot and some guys who it’s going to be their third game in eight days so fatigue may lead to some changes.”