The Seattle Sounders find themselves in their season’s first losing streak, falling to the San Jose Earthquakes 1-nil on Saturday. In losing, Seattle relinquished their grip atop the Supporters’ Shield ranking and saw their points-per-game fall below 2 for the first time since beating Chivas on April 19th.
Now is not the time to panic. This is key. Despite the passion, some would say “unrealistic expectations”, of the fan base, keeping an even keel is necessary. These two losses may only be a slight regression to the mean, and the mean probably ain’t too shabby. The Sounders still dominate ppg and have games in hand on SKC, the only team with more points. Nothing here is screwed, but the drama has heightened going into the back nine.
All of a sudden we aren’t a comfortable lock for the Shield, as our double-digit lead quickly evaporated. We got complacent and exposed. With the two wins over Portland and the friendly, things were all sunshine and buttercups, but that was just a ruse. The Sounders have now lost three of four league games, only scoring three goals. Losing Chad Marshall exposed our shaky defense, but this team must score to win games. We live and die with our attack. Whether it’s the absence of Marshall’s vision starting the attack from the back or teams crowding the midfield and stopping Gonzalo Pineda and Ozzie Alonso from connecting with the strikers, Seattle needs to retool.
I just want to see our boys right the ship. Captain Brad Evans said in an interview, “Our season is so long, it is difficult to get on a long run. So we deal with losses as little blips and we recover from that.” Let’s recover Seattle. We have a very winnable game against Houston next week. Yes the Dynamo have newly signed USMNT stalwart DaMarcus Beasley, but Houston is a terrible team. They have less than 1 ppg and they’ve given up an astonishing 40 goals, the most in the league. Sports is so often a confidence game, and currently Seattle’s is shaken. The porous Dynamo D should help us reset our winning course.
A winning attitude is needed, now. The Sounders play six games in the next 27 days. After Houston we face Chicago midweek in the semifinals of the US Open Cup, of course a must-win. That tilt is followed by four straight games against Western conference foes, each game a six-pointer. We cannot afford to blow these games. Evans also said, about never wining the Supporters’ Shield, “Last year we were in a good position to do so with eight games left and we blew it.” I like how frankly and succinctly he summarized last year’s failing. No excuses, no slanted perspective, just the truth. This year let’s stay strong, let’s get back on a run and take 11 points from our next five league matchups. Let’s build that cushion back.