Seventeen games into a 34-game regular season, the Sounders stand at 7-7-3 -- and will probably have to step up their pace. Simply repeating a .500 record would likely keep them out of the playoffs for the first time in their five MLS seasons.
Seattle rounds the turn tied for seventh place in the Western Conference – two spots short of playoff qualification. The Sounders have at least two games in hand on every other team in the West, but their average of 1.41 points per game ranks seventh in the conference and falls short of the 1.5 ppg mark that coach Sigi Schmid traditionally considers the safe zone.
For whatever it's worth, the Sounders traditionally have played better in the second half, as noted in this information provided by the club:
Second half SoundersSeattle plays its best soccer in the second-half of the season. Over the past four years, Sounders FC has averaged 1.97 points per match over the second-half of the season, which is 0.59 points per match better than the first-half average (1.38). Seattle's lowest points per match average over the second-half of the season was in 2009 when it averaged 1.67 points, which is still better than the best average (1.53 in 2012) through the first-half of any Sounders FC season. The most outstanding second-half runs came in 2010 when the team won 10 of its final 15 games and in 2011 when the team won 12 of the final 17 games.
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Record through Second-half of SeasonSeason Games Record Points (PPM)2009 15 7-4-4 25 (1.67)2010 15 10-2-3 33 (2.20) 2011 17 12-3-2 38 (2.24) 2012 17 8-3-6 30 (1.76)Individual club leaders at the midpoint are Obafemi Martins with six goals, Eddie Johnson with 28 shots, Johnson with 15 shots on goal, Brad Evans, Lamar Neagle and Mauro Rosales with three assists each, and Michael Gspurning with a 1.15 goals-against average.
Gspurning also leads the club with 1,485 minutes played, while Djimi Traore leads among field player with 1,403 minutes.
Among those club leaders, Johnson and Gspurning are unavailable Saturday, while Martins, Evans and Traore are questionable.
“We know a lot of players are injured,” Martins said after training Thursday. “We don’t have any choice but to continue to train and focus on the game. … We don’t really have to get frustrated. We need a lot of players who haven’t really played in a lot of games to help us now, and we’ve got to help them, too.”
Martins has been training through a calf injury, and he seems likely to play Saturday. Evans (ribs) seems less certain. Designated player Shalrie Joseph (calf) and reserve goalkeeper Marcus Hahnemann (hamstring) are out this week and perhaps longer. If the USA advances to the CONCACAF Gold Cup final, Johnson won’t wear green again until August.