After the Seattle Sounders (3-8-3, 12pts) 1-1 home draw with the Chicago Fire (5-7-5, 20pts) the 1970’s Carol King song ” It’s Too Late” hummed through my mind. Why you ask? The reality is that time is running out on the Sounders if they are going to continue their streak of reaching the playoffs every since they joined Major League Soccer.
As for the King lyrics the line about ” There’s somethin’ wrong here, there can be no denyin’ One of us is changin’, or maybe we’ve just stopped tryin’ cannot be denied when it comes to the Sounders. The Sounders effort during games is decent enough to keep them in games but a long way from the take no prisoners warrior mentality needed to turn a season around that is quickly slipping away.
In Saturdays draw with the Fire, the Sounders found themselves behind 1-0 after just nine minutes of play when Chicago midfielder Aleksander Katai blasted a right footed shot past Seattle netminder Stefan Frei to give the visitors the lead.
A sequence of passes from Nicolas Lodeiro to Harry Shipp to Will Bruin then to a running Clint Dempsey resulted in an equalizer goal for the home side in the 23rd minute. The play was an example of what type of soccer the Sounders are capable of playing when they are in rhythm, passing, running and creating space for each other.
While the Sounders have given the effort the truth is that there have been very few plays like the one that led to the equalizing goal. Consistent, quality soccer has been a season-long issue according to head coach Brian Schmetzer.
” Tonight [we had] 19 shots. Some good looks, some stuff around the goal. But, again, we’re pressing so hard to score that sometimes you leave yourself open at the back. So, a little too undisciplined in certain moments. Could we have manufactured a few more chances with extended possession?
Yeah, maybe. But it’s hard when guys are going in on goal, and Víctor [Rodríguez] is driving at guys and Nico [Lodeiro] is trying to play guys in. That’s part of who we are. But we’re just trying to find that little bit of balance of just making sure we extend our possessions a little longer, and also playing with one eye of where the goal is and trying to play guys in when it’s the right pass.”
The Sounders are currently 10th place in the 12 team Western Conference and will play their biggest of the season next Saturday when they host Cascadia Rivals Portland Timbers (6-3-4, 22pts) who occupy the sixth and final playoff spot. The Sounders are ten points behind the Timbers who have a game in hand. A win and the Sounders can believe they are capable of making a late push, a loss will leave the team with zero margin of error for the rest of the season.
- With the result, Sounders FC moves to 3-8-3 on the season, currently tied for 10th place in the Western Conference with 12 points.
- Seattle is now 7-2-4 all-time against Chicago in MLS regular-season play, including an unbeaten 4-0-2 record at CenturyLink Field.
- Clint Dempsey scored his first goal of the season and 47th for Sounders FC in MLS regular-season play, tying Fredy Montero atop the club’s all-time scoring chart. His 57 goals across all competitions are three short of Montero’s 60.
- Will Bruin recorded his fourth assist of the season, tying Cristian Roldan for the team lead. Bruin also leads Sounders FC with three goals in 2018.
- Harry Shipp tallied an assist on Dempsey’s goal, giving the former Chicago Fire player two goals and an assist in his last three games across all competitions.
- Cristian Roldan started at right-back this evening, marking his third career start at fullback, having previously started in that role twice during the 2017 season (May 13, 2017 at Chicago and June 21, 2017 vs. Orlando).
- Osvaldo Alonso made his 250th career regular-season start on Saturday, the most in Sounders FC history and 71 ahead of second place (Brad Evans, 179). Alonso is also the club’s all-time leader in regular-season games played (259) and minutes (21,981).