There were no tommy guns, cement trucks or missing bodies, but a murder took place in North Jersey. The Seattle Sounders were beat by the New York Red Bulls 4-1, dropping points and finding themselves sharing the Supporters’ Shield lead.
There are many reasons to be livid about the game at New York. Getting pasted 4-1 was about as bad a result as you could expect, but coach Sigi Schmid also gave his starters even more minutes?! Saturday was Seattle’s third game in eight days (plus the extra time in Philly), so fatigue, both mental and physical, is less an excuse than a context. But they are not out of the woods yet. The Sounders’ next match, Wednesday in Frisco, TX, will be their 4th in 13 days, the last three on the road. These are conditions the Sounders must endure, but they can control minutes, rest and regen. They didn’t.
I was totally prepared for a loss. I expected a loss and wanted Sigi to field a JV lineup so we could move on, rest up and look forward to the stretch run against Western Conference. But nope, Sigi starts Ozzie Alonso and Chad Marshall and then, down 3-0, throws Clint Dempsey and Oba Martins into the fray. If you’re going to rest your starters, Sigi, rest them. Don’t throw them into a 3-nil drubbing. And don’t give me that crap about scheduling Dempsey and Martins to play regardless to preserve their rhythm. They played in Philly on Tuesday and will play Dallas on Wednesday. A week between games seems like a fine rhythm to me. Throwing two tiring stars into a lost game just feels like the same decision making process that gets us whupped 3-0 in the first leg of playoff series: “Oh crap, we’re in trouble. Let’s double down.” Sigi, you don’t need to be a riverboat gambler, you’re sitting on a gold mine. And besides, they call it “double or nothing” for a reason; most of the time you end up with nothing.
Deep breath. We just won the U.S. Open Cup and punched our ticket to CONCACAF Champions League. We are tied for the Supporters’ Shield lead and hold a game in hand. Nothing here is cocked. The Sounders made us ecstatic coming back at the death to beat RSL. Tuesday night’s instant-classic USOC Final further cemented the feel goods. This team seems to have that championship edge, a winner’s swagger. Then Saturday came. And with it lots of demons: last years collapse and ghosts of playoff pastings past.
I earlier discussed my PTSD from last year’s swoon. I am now realizing just how visceral and real those emotions are. The New York game was everything that’s wrong with the Sounders: boneheaded individual errors, sloppy defense, and poor finishing resulting in a blowout. When the Hydra machine is humming, it is easy to forget the team’s bad habits, but they’re there. And tired legs and minds will exacerbate them. Hopefully, this loss pissed us off enough to get back in gear. That’s my only silver lining. Maybe we were getting cocky or complacent. We need to play with an edge. We cannot let up. We need to beat Dallas.
New news on commenting. I was having a real problem with spammers clogging the comments, so I shut them down a while ago. I needed to clean out the backlog and find a fix. This weekend I installed DISQUS to handle the comment filtering. If you’ve used it before and have an account, great. Get cracking. If not, it is easy to make an account and then you’ll be able to comment here as always. I look forward to chatting with you.
Also a special shoutout to Jacob Alfredo. I found your comment amongst the spam. I just want to say, thanks for reading. And yeah, attendance for that Chivas game was abysmal. TV broadcast couldnt’ve have done it justice. I feel sorry for the Chivas fans because I MLS is probably going to shut them down the team for a year or two. I couldn’t imagine not having the Sounders for a season, let alone two. But realistically, with everything that franchise is going through, it very well may be for the best.