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Three Questions with Sounder at Heart

What's up with Seattle Sounders' form in 2024?

Three Questions with Sounder at Heart

Reviving an old tradition, this week, Dave Clark of Sounder at Heart answered my questions about how Seattle Sounders are faring. We touch on Albert Rusnak, Pedro de la Vega, Sounders' form, and much more ahead of tonight's match.


1 - Early season MLS is weird. How worried are you feeling about the Sounders' form? Does finishing second in the Western Conference last year buy some patience for the coaching staff?

If 2022's awful regular season hadn't happened, maybe. But the Seattle Sounders are in a three-year stretch of offensive struggle that is punctuated with a few stretches that included positive results with poor performance. Adding on more poor performances isn't going to be acceptable too long. On a Nos Audietis a couple weeks ago Jeremiah and Aaron seemed to thing the end of May, the halfway point, would be a solid time for a change if one is going to happen.

Brian Schmetzer & Staff don't have to turn the season around to be safe at that point. They merely need to be better. Over the past seven games they have a 1.57 ppm. That's not Shield contention, but it's basically last year's second place in the conference and typically puts a team hosting home games in the playoffs. If they can maintain this pace for the month, win another Open Cup game and get healthier :fingers-crossed: they'll be in a position to charge forth in the second half for a noisy playoff run -- or the coaches will watch from somewhere not on the sidelines.

2 - It can't be easy with Pedro de la Vega out. Is he getting close to fit? Any chance he's nearing a recovery?

He could be back this weekend! Which is great news for RSL fans. de la Vega looks every bit like Nico Lodeiro when he first came to Seattle, except younger, faster. He's a creative force, which was expected. A solid dribbler who can use multiple channels, Pedro should become an exceptional talent. What leads me to thinking he could be Nico 2.0 is the defense and ground covering. He's more disciplined than Nico, but just as active. Seattle's defense-first posture will be even better with PdlV on the field.

But you won't need to worry about it.

3 - Our old friend Albert Rusnak — how's he doing? I've seen some grumbling from Sounders fans about him. Is there something afoot there?

Last year he finally moved to the 10 and looked like a great withdrawn forward capable of threatening goal and earning secondary assists from the role. This year he started injured. When he finally was playing again he was back at the 10, mostly. But, his counting stats aren't good. FB ref loves his underlying metrics, but when a team is struggling to perform underlying metrics are frequently overlooked by fans. With only a single losing season since 2006 (and that's the only one since '94) Sounders fans aren't used to struggle. The lack of big numbers from the most expensive free agent signed within the league is a significant focus of ire. He's not performing up to the standard of his salary. There are reasons -- he was used as an 8 during the CCL run and early last season, and now the Sounders are quite bad at shooting effectively.

If he can be what he was in the second half of 2023 for the remaining 2/3rds of 2024 the offense will look much better. And the offense needs help, because Raul, Jordan and Musavski aren't performing at their levels either.

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