Despite setback, Seattle encouraged by numbers
SEATTLE – Did the Seattle Sounders do enough to win Sunday night? Or at least score a goal? The numbers say yes.
Looking deeper into the statistics from the first leg of the playoff series againt the Los Angeles Galaxy, Sounders fans have to be encouraged by their team’s performance. While it may not have matched the dominating efforts Seattle posted against lesser MLS teams, the Sounders far surpassed the expectations in many key offensive categories.
WATCH: Highlights: SEA 0, LA 1
Over the course of the regular season, Los Angeles yielded, on average, 9.63 shots – 3.5 of which were on goal – and scored a total of 0.87 goals per game.
When measured against those numbers, Seattle’s 15 total shots and eight on goal on Sunday night were actually quite encouraging, especially considering the Sounders actually outperformed their season averages in both categories by more than 25 percent. What was below par, however, was the finishing percentage.
Over the course of the regular season, Seattle had been scoring on 11.4 percent of their shots. Conversely, LA only yield goals on nine percent of their opponents’ strikes. Conservatively taking the lesser of those two numbers, one still could have reasonably expected to see Seattle score once, possibly twice, on in the semifinal clash between the two.
“I was very happy with the way we played,” said goalkeeper Kasey Keller on Sunday night. “We created good chances. We had more than enough opportunities to win the game.”
With those numbers in mind, can the Sounders reasonably expect to find the net in the return leg? The answer: yes.
Los Angeles allowed a very pedestrian 19 goals in 15 regular-season matches at the Home Depot Center, compared to seven goals allowed in 15 road games. They posted losses at home to unexpected teams – in August, Chicago and Kansas City both walked out of Carson, Calif., with victories.
At the HDC, 46 goals were scored in 15 games, well above the MLS average of 2.46 goals per game (an all-time low), and the Galaxy outscored opponents 27-19.
Should Seattle manage to keep a clean sheet, the numbers show they will have a good chance to get on the board against a team that allows well more than a goal per game at home.
Donovan Ricketts’ heroics on Sunday notwithstanding, if the Sounders carry their effort of the first match into the second game, they could walk out of the semifinals closer with a pass to the Western Conference final.
“I think we could've walked away with two or three goals possibly [on Sunday],” Steve Zakuani said. “It's frustrating and we have got to get ready for next week."
Seattle will travel to take on Los Angeles in the second leg of the series on Sunday at 9 p.m. ET.
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