HARRISON, N.J. – Following their 2-0 road defeat to the New York Red Bulls on Sunday, the Seattle Sounders are 14 games into their 2016 MLS campaign with only 13 goals to show for it.
It’s a mark that trails only the Eastern Conference basement-dwelling Chicago Fire for worst attack in MLS and, should it persist, one that will jeopardize Seattle’s unmatched distinction of qualifying for every MLS Cup Playoffs since they joined the league in 2009.
“We just have to keep working on it and hopefully [goals] will come,” forward Jordan Morris said after Sunday’s game. “I don’t think it’s confidence. We have enough confidence to take the shots. We’re going at teams and all that kind of stuff. It’s just that the final product isn’t there.”
Morris’s sentiment isn’t necessarily incorrect. The Sounders controlled possession for large stretches on Sunday, outshot RBNY 16-11 and their attack looked fluid for much of the night.
But if Seattle can’t find ways to finish the chances they generate, it will all be rendered a moot point.
“We’ve got to score goals,” said Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid. “It’s a matter of continuing to go to the practice ground, continuing to work on our finishing.
“We’ve got to keep doing what we’re doing. It’s not like we’re not creating chances. We’re creating chances. We have to continue to do that and we have to continue to believe in how we’re playing.”
The absence of star forward Clint Dempsey, away on duty with the US national team, certainly doesn’t help matters. In Dempsey’s absence, Seattle’s attack corps leaned on the talented but inexperienced group of Morris, Aaron Kovar and Oalex Anderson – players who Schmid says are still maturing and growing as professionals.
“When you look at who the chances fell to tonight, you’re looking at Jordan Morris, you’re looking at Aaron Kovar, you’re looking at Oalex Anderson and even Joevin Jones,” Schmid said. “Those guys are young guys. We need to wait for those guys to mature a little bit.”
With the return of Dempsey and continued improvement from Morris and the rest of Seattle’s young faces, there’s reason to believe the Sounders will see an uptick in offensive production.
However, with a 5-8-1 record that leaves them second from the bottom in the tough Western Conference, the Sounders also can’t afford to wait much longer.