The Seattle Sounders slipped hard in falling to FC Dallas 3-1 last night. With Fabian Castillo and Mauro Diaz out, Seattle, despite fatigue, seemed to have the edge. Which is what makes the loss that much more unexpected. Here I was predicting the Sounders we know and love to come out and rout a reeling FC Dallas. No. Such. Luck.
The Sounders need to improve. Defensively, we saw sloppy defending, lazy marking and piss-poor clearances. On the attack, we saw errant passes and missed connections. Coach Sigi Schmid probably lit into his boys. It was reported that the locker room stayed shut to the media for a long time following the game. When finally open, no players stayed to chat. Good. I wanted them pissed after New York, but maybe they needed to hit a lower low. There is little margin for error left, as now we are deadlocked with Los Angeles for the Shield. One big difference from last night’s result is we can longer think of the Shield as ours to win. Now it is just out there, waiting to be won. C’mon Seattle, fight and win! The other major difference is the question at centerback.
The Supreme High Totem of All Things Sounder, Zach Scott, took a helluva fall and had to leave the game with an ankle injury. Scott is the toughest of the toughies, and so this injury might be serious. That scares me. Zach has been a rock at the back and Djimi Traore… not so much. I get nervous imaging Djimi or Jalil Aninbaba playing significant minutes in this dead heat with L.A. for the Shield.
But everything is still cool in the Soundersverse. I know I truck in hyperbole and can get a little manic, but I’m trying to see the big picture here. We just won a trophy. We are tied atop the table with a month to go. And soccer-wise, the Sounders are fine. Even tired and well travelled, they played solid. We had near 60% possession and the edge in shots-on-goal. I think we need to remember that even great teams lose on the road to quality opposition. Especially at the tail end of long road trips and serious fixture congestion. In the last 13 days, the Sounders played four games (three on the road): the first two were brilliant, the last two weren’t. On the balance, that ain’t bad.
I know we love our team, but sometimes maybe it’s a little too much. We can be like Tiger Mom to our Sounders, showing love through unrealistic expectations that just result in disappointment. Let’s not give our team a complex. Let’s love them for what they are: 2014 USOC Champions, Supporter’ Shield favorites, the Eternal Blue and Forever Green.