If effort alone was all that is needed to win the Seattle Sounders (2-6-2, 8 points) would be undefeated and arguably the best team in Major League Soccer. The truth is that effort, execution at the right moment and a bit of luck more times than not will lead to a winning formula.
In Saturdays, disappointing 1-0 loss to Real Salt Lake ( (5-6-1, 16 points) the Sounders had the effort but no execution and a bit of bad luck. The Sounders home record at Century Linkfield stands at (1-3-1). That is one win, three losses, and one draw at a place that was once considered one of the hardest venues to play in MLS.
An already decimated team due to World Cup call-ups for , Gustav Svensson ( Sweden),Román Torres ( Panama), Nicolás Lodeiro Uruguay and injuries to forward Will Bruin, and midfielders Osvaldo Alonso and Victor Rodriguez suffered another set back in the 28th minute when outside midfielder Handwalla Bwana had to leave the game due to a right ankle injury forcing Sounders head coach Brian Schmetzer to insert Waylon Francis for the injured Bwana.
“It’s a foot injury. I don’t have an update for you guys, and I thought it made a big impact on the game. I thought the kid was playing well. I thought he was dangerous. He was breaking people down. That hurt us, ” said Schmetzer during his post-game conference.
The other thing that hurt the Sounders was their inability to create any type of a scoring threat once they were inside the RSL goal area. The Sounders had two shots on goal in the first half and they were more half chances than full stop dangerous shots on goal. Real played the part of a grateful visitor as it finished the first half with no shots on goal.
The gracious visitor turned to rude guest in the 61st minute when Real forward Sebastian Saucedo was given room to carry the ball into the Seattle goal box and made himself at home with a right footed shot that found the back of the Seattle goal for the game-winner.
The Sounders tried to defend their house three minutes later Magnus Wolff Eikrem served a cross to Lamar Neagle who was able to head the ball past RSL goalkeeper Nick Rimando but not the crossbar. It was Seattle’s only shot on goal in the second half. The reality is that the Sounders are a team in search of its identity and style of play. Until the Sounders get a sense of who they are on the offensive end they will continue to play discombobulated soccer. Players are unsure when to pass and when to shoot the ball once inside the opponent’s box. The Sounders had nine shots inside the Real Salt Lake box and only three of those shots were on target.
- Saturday’s result brings the team to 2-6-2 on the season, currently sitting tied for 11th place in the Western Conference with eight points.
- Seattle is now 9-10-4 against RSL in MLS regular-season play, including a 8-3-2 record at CenturyLink Field. Sunday’s match marked the first of two meetings in eight days between the two sides, with a match set for next Saturday at Rio Tinto Stadium (6:30 p.m. PT / JOEtv, YouTube TV, 950 KJR AM, El Rey 1360 AM).
- Sounders FC deployed a 4-1-4-1 formation, with Jordy Delem slotting at defensive midfield in front of central defenders Chad Marshall and Kim Kee-hee.
- Sounders FC ranks third in MLS with just 12 goals allowed this season. Only Columbus Crew SC (10) and FC Dallas (11) have allowed fewer tallies in 2018.
- Midfielder Handwalla Bwana was forced to exit Saturday’s contest in the 33rd minute due to a right foot injury. He was replaced by Waylon Francis.
- With the start today, Chad Marshall recorded his 379th career MLS regular-season appearance, passing Steve Ralston for fifth in league history. His 374 starts currently rank fourth all-time, and his 34,014 minutes played passes Ralston for fourth all-time, with both also slotting in at second amongst outfield players.
- Stefan Frei made his 223rd career appearance and start in goal, tying him with Pat Onstad for ninth all-time among goalkeepers.
- Forward Felix Chenkam was included in the 18-man matchday roster on Saturday as a substitute. Sounders FC signed Chenkam to the First Team roster on Friday after over a year with S2, the club’s USL side.