Yes, it's still early. But ...
With one-fifth of their regular season behind them, the Sounders have the fourth-highest point total in MLS. However, they have at least one game in hand over the rest of the league. More accurately -- and perhaps concerningly -- they are below the 1.5-point-per-game average that coach Sigi Schmid points to as the safe zone for the playoffs.
And the MLS playoffs will be harder to reach than ever with eight of 16 teams meaning only the top half of the league will get in. And obviously a 2-2-2 record after three games home and three away projects as very much in the middle of the league. And it could be significant that Western rivals Colorado and especially San Jose look improved this season. The Galaxy is off-the-charts sizzling. And Houston hasn't fallen off as much as some might have expected.
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In some ways (Dallas, Salt Lake) the Sounders have been unfortunate. There might even be some kind of perverse comfort in the general impression that they seem to be underachieving. And the return of Nate Jaqua and arrival of Blaise Nkufo offers promise that a current offensive weakness -- the lack of a strong, big target in from of the goal -- could become a strength before the All-Star break.
But help can't come soon enough. Because Toronto was allowing 2.5 goals per game and hadn't shut out anyone ... until yesterday.
Yes, it's early. But the first fifth has been a disappointment. And with three of the next four and five of the next seven at home, it's time to get going.