The Seattle Sounders (3-8-2, 11 points) season is quickly slipping away and the only thing that can prevent a full out sinking ship call is an adherent listen to Brian Schmetzers all hands on deck call. While you can point to some positives in the Sounders 2-1 loss to the New York Red Bulls (8-4-2, 26 points), the same day one issues continue to plague the team.
The Sounders were more creative in the attacking third than they have been all season. The return of Nicolas Lodeiro, Victor Rodriguez and Osvaldo Alonso on the pitch gives opposing teams reason for concern. The trio along with Cristian Roldan can create space for each other and the result is ball possession. The issue is the link up with the forwards once the ball is in the opponents attacking third, there is utter discombobulation.
The forwards are not moving in and around the opponent’s goal box while the attacking midfielders are hesitant to make a run in the box or make a pass into space for the forwards to run onto. The Sounders inability to be decisive in the final third has resulted in the Rave Green scoring a league-low ten goals.
The other demon that reared its ugly head on Wednesday night in New York was the team’s inability to put pressure on the opposition to stop a counter as was the case in the Red Bulls first goal by Daniel Royer minutes before halftime. The Sounders have been lackadaisical when marking opposing players and that demon reared it’s ugly head on the Red Bulls second goal when Ethan Kutler’s left-footed cross into the Seattle goalmouth found an unmarked Bradley Wright-Phillips who’s glancing header to the far post gave the home side the 2-0 lead after 52 minutes of play.
The Sounders were able to narrow the margin to 2-1 in the 88th minute when Harry Shipp was fed an exquisite slide rule pass by Will Bruin and promptly slotted the ball into the back of the Red Bulls goal. The play was a bitter reminder of what the Sounders can do when players are creating space, running on to space and finishing when given the opportunity. For Sounders head coach the loss to the Red Bulls was more of the same.
“Well, at the end of the day, goals are going to change games. We worked all week on getting a little more possession, being a little more dangerous. We get some shots on target. Harry finally breaks through at the end. But you know, they get a goal right before half time. We could have equalized changes the game, changes the complexity of the game, doesn’t happen,” Schemtzer said after his the game.” They come out the second half and that’s just classic, textbook stuff. They get another goal just on the other side of half time and it’s hard for the team to recover. What I was proud of, though, is the team never quit. They never stopped fighting. Testament, again, to the strength of the group. We got one a little late but certainly wasn’t enough.”
The Sounders will have the next few days off due to the FIFA World Cup break and their next MLS game will be on Saturday, June 23 when they host the Chicago Fire on the Xbox Pitch at CenturyLink Field (7:00 p.m. PT / JOEtv, YouTube TV, Univision-Seattle, 950 KJR AM, El Rey 1360 AM).
- The Rave Green are now 5-5-3 all-time against New York, including a 1-4-2 record at Red Bull Arena.
- Sounders FC has a 2-2-1 record this season against the Eastern Conference. The Rave Green have six matches left against Eastern Conference opponents, beginning with the club’s next match at home against the Chicago Fire on June 23.
- Goalkeeper Stefan Frei established a new single-match club record with 11 saves on Wednesday, surpassing his own club record (May 5, 2015 at CLB) that he held with Kasey Keller (August 2, 2009 at SJ).
- Harry Shipp scored his first regular-season goal and second across all competitions of 2018 for Seattle. The 26-year-old previously scored in last Wednesday’s 2-1 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Fourth Round loss at Sacramento Republic FC. It marked the 15th career regular-season goal for Shipp, and third since joining Sounders FC prior to the 2017 season.
- Chad Marshall became the fourth player (and second field player) to pass the 34,000-minute mark in his MLS career in the sixth minute of today’s match. The 15-year veteran and only three-time MLS Defender of the Year winner has 34,084 career minutes played in MLS regular season action.
- Captain Osvaldo Alonso made his first start for Sounders FC since May 5 at Columbus, having appeared as a sub and recorded the game-winning assist over the weekend vs. D.C. United.
- Midfielder Víctor Rodríguez started for the second consecutive match after returning from a knee injury that kept him out of the first 10 games of the season.
MATCH SUMMARY Seattle Sounders FC 1 – New York Red Bulls 2Wednesday, June 13, 2018 Venue: Red Bull ArenaReferee: Allen ChapmanAssistants: Corey Parker, Andrew BigelowFourth Official: Chris PensoVAR: Jorge GonzalezAttendance: 15,553
Weather: 80 degrees and partly cloudy
SCORING SUMMARY NYR – Daniel Royer (Florian Valot, Ethan Kutler) 37′NYR – Bradley Wright-Phillips (Ethan Kutler, Sean Davis) 52′SEA – Harry Shipp (Will Bruin, Waylon Francis) 87′
MISCONDUCT SUMMARY SEA – Jordan McCrary (caution) 74′SEA – Harry Shipp (caution) 76′SEA – Cristian Roldan (caution) 90’+1′
LINEUPS & STATS Seattle Sounders FC – Stefan Frei; Jordan McCrary (Magnus Wolff Eikrem 78′), Kim Kee-hee, Chad Marshall, Tony Alfaro (Clint Dempsey HT), Waylon Francis; Nicolás Lodeiro, Cristian Roldan, Osvaldo Alonso – captain (Harry Shipp 59′), Victor Rodriguez; Will Bruin
Substitutes not used: Bryan Meredith, Nouhou, Jordy Delem, Alex Roldan
Total shots: 11 (Rodriguez, 4) Shots on goal: 5 (Shipp, 2)Fouls: 13 (C. Roldan, 3)
Offside: 2 (Bruin, 2)Corner-kicks: 3 (Lodeiro, 3)
Saves: 11 (Frei, 11)
New York Red Bulls – Luis Robles; Ethan Kutler, Tim Parker, Aaron Long, Kemar Lawrence (Connor Lade 61′); Sean Davis, Tyler Adams (Marc Rzatkowski 64′); Alex Muyl, Florian Valot, Daniel Royer; Bradley Wright-Phillips (Derrick Etienne 77′)
Substitutes not used: Ryan Meara; Hassan Ndam, Carlos Rivas, Benjamin Mines
Total shots: 22 (Wright-Phillips, 5)Shots on goal: 13 (Royer, 4)
Fouls: 16 (Muyl, 5)Offside: 2 (Muyl/Wright-Phillips, 1)
Corner-kicks: 6 (Davis, 6)Saves: 4 (Robles, 4)