I exchanged 3 questions with Dave Clark of Sounder at Heart in advance of today's match against Seattle. You can see his questions to me and my responses by clicking here.
What is the morale amongst the fan base at this point in your sophomore year?
Fans are frustrated. After a year of slightly underperforming and taking a mere one major trophy we face a year where the Playoffs look like an outside shot, and the US Open Cup feels unlikely. There is a segment of the fanbase that fails to recognize that last year was unprecedented, and have called for Schmid and Hanauer to be fired. It isn't rational, but it does capture a certain disappointment in the first half of the season.
The Sounders should win this game. What weaknesses are you concerned with heading into Sunday?
The biggest weakness for the Sounders is on Set-Play defense. While solid on during the Run of Play, the Sounders give up too many goals from corners, free kicks and deep throw-ins. Its like they forgot how to communicate to each other. On offense though the issue has to do with finishing. The Sounders take a ton of shots, but too few of them are on goal. I don't mean that they aren't testing the opposing Keeper, their shots aren't even on frame in the first place. That means a strong offense has underperformed for 13 matches of the regular season. I'm of the opinion that Zakuani, Montero and Ljungberg could start on all but three teams in the league, but the talent isn't performing. Sunday will be a test for them, because they have to grab points and score goals against a struggling team.
Ljungberg has 0 goals and 3 assists in 13 games. He is set to make $1.31 million this year as a DP. I've noticed grumblings about Freddie and his attitude on Sounder at Heart. What is your take on Ljungberg?
I think that the questioning of Ljungberg's attitude is unfounded. He works with the younger players in practice, and while he argues with the referee in matches I don't think that the Sounders have lost a scoring opportunity due to it. It would be like saying "If Ljungberg smiled more he'd score more goals" that's clearly not true, so how could the opposite be true?
Now, that doesn't mean that he's earning his DP paycheck at this point. He should be one of the Best XI in any given month, and he isn't doing it. Now that the DP rules have changed I want to see him back with more talent on the team though.