Where Is My Mind: Are the Seattle Sounders Losing Focus?

What are the Seattle Sounders hiding? Following Wednesday’s 3-1 loss to FC Dallas, Seattle shut their locker room to the media. Only coach Sigi Schmid was made available to the press for interviews, though the team later released comments from captain Brad Evans.

First off, let me repeat, the team later released. The only postgame comments from a Sounder, other than the coach’s, were culled, controlled and disseminate by the team. This is seriously not okay. I am not a journalist, I only play one on the internet, but I have a lot of respect for the fourth estate. Thomas Jefferson said, “Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.” A free flow of information is vital to healthy organizations. I know I’m getting carried away, it’s not like the fate of the free world hung in the balance of the away locker room in Frisco, Texas, but… c’mon Sounders?! Sure you just lost two clunkers and thereby potentially jeopardized a historic season, but to shut the door to the media (literally) postgame, and then throw a sop to Cerberus with some Evans quotes is both worrisome and insulting. It may also be indicative of a deeper problem.

Something may be amiss in the state of Sounders. I was one of the Seattle fans calling for perspective and calm in the wake of these two defeats (despite the aggregate score of 7-2). The Sounders are fine, I said yesterday. Well… after revisiting Schmid’s postgame comments, I found some very worrisome sentences. Consider the following:

“I think we have to have a roster available to us that wants to step out and play and beat Chivas.”

“And our mentality has to be good, our attitude has to be right. Guys have to be here in the moment, they can’t be in other places…”

“Certainly [Dallas] were there, they were focused.”

Is it just me or does a theme exists regarding a lack of focus, a question of commitment and a flagging competitive spirit? I can’t imagine we’re having a situation like last year’s when Eddiejohnsongate blew up the locker room. But…it seems there is a problem with the team that doesn’t just refer to depth, talent, injury or fatigue. The Sounders could be having a chemistry problem. With five games left before the playoffs and the Supporters’ Shield on the line, the last thing we need is locker room strife. But maybe we shouldn’t be worried. These guys just spent ten days on the road together. Familiarity need not breed contempt, but maybe just annoyance or apathy.

Trouble is, I can’t imagine which players could be turning off or tuning out. Is Yedlin daydreaming ahead to his glory days on White Hart Lane? Is Obafemi “I just signed a new contract” Martins or Clint “I just won my first club championship” Dempsey tuning out? No way. So who or what is going on? Maybe as a result of last year’s debacle, I am parsing these quotes too deep. Trouble is, we’re reacting in a vacuum of information. The fact that the Sounders felt the need to put on a lid on something is, frankly, more worrisome than Sigi’s subtle comments.

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