The atmosphere at Qwest Field has become one of renown throughout MLS. With average attendances surpassing 36,000 in 2010 and exceeding that total in each of their first two matches, the Sounders FC have set the new standard for attendance in Major League Soccer. That environment of fun and frivolity was felt all the way on the field last Friday in a 1-1 draw with the Houston Dynamo.
After taking 26 shots and forcing goalkeeper Tally Hall into seven saves on the night, the Sounders FC had as much fan as their supporters.
“It was a really fun game to play in for sure,” midfielder Brad Evans said. “I can’t remember a game feeling like we were dominating a team as much as we did. I felt like we dominated in every category. And obviously it’s more fun when you’re not conceding as many chances as you’re creating as we did.”
Steve Zakuani agreed, noting that the fun can’t stop because the final whistle sounded, “It was definitely a fun game. The result is probably the only down side to it. We played well on both sides of the ball and really came out and took the game to Houston. Hopefully that kick starts us now and we can keep playing well and get some wins now.”
The high shot totals not only have created a buzz on the field for the Sounders players, but it also shows them that they are doing some things right. Historically, they have averaged 11 shots and 4.3 shots on goal per game in their first 60 matches in MLS. Through three games this year, they are averaging 16 and 6.
“If we played these games against New York and LA and Houston and averaged five shots a game, we would have some real problems because we hadn’t been creating chances. We’ve opened up these teams quite a few times and had some really good chances,” Zakuani said. “Like I say the hardest thing to do in football is to score goals, so we’re at that last stage where we need to convert those chances and score some goals.”
The team knows, too, that getting shots in three games does not mean that trend will continue throughout the 34-game season either. They will attempt on Saturday to carry the momentum from the performance last week, but also build on it with more scoring against the San Jose Earthquakes.
“We have some momentum now, but what we did this weekend doesn’t guarantee success. The most important thing we talked about after the game was keeping the ball rolling and working hard and the chances are going to come,” Evans said. “We had fun on Friday. We played a great game and everybody was buzzing after the game. We didn’t win, but if we play like that we won’t lose too many games.”