San Jose at Seattle: And We All Come Crashing Down

Back to reality. Sure we all wanted the next nine months to be a slow and inevitable coronation for the Seattle Sounders. But no. They’re going to lose sometimes. Sometimes they’re going to underwhelm and sometimes disappoint. Saturday they did just that, losing at home to the San Jose Earthquakes 3-2.

The Sounders are always capable of the inexplicable clunker. But to lose to a team on a 17-game winless streak while up a man for over half an hour?! That is a new flavor of suck. On the heels of a dominant performance Week 1, and with Dempsey scoring 14 seconds in, it felt like the preamble to a rout. And that’s why this loss sucked so uniquely: everything was ripe for the taking. Adding injury to insult, Azira and Mears both left the pitch hurt (Mears’s sounds pretty serious as a “minor tear” was reported). Put to bed the dreams of a super team, we now know we got the same old Sounders.

And the same old Sounders are capable of brilliance. Last season Seattle played a clunker in losing to Toronto at home 2-1. Dempsey scored a consolation goal late, but the game was well in hand for the Reds. On that day we made Jermain Defoe look a decade younger, and on Saturday we made Chris Wondolowski look like a guy who doesn’t whiff a gimme in Brazil. But we all know how last season worked out: 20 wins, Supporters’ Shield, 4th US Open Cup.

I am not trying to be all Pollyanna and wish the dreadful performance away. Believe me that was one of the most uninspired performances I’ve seen from the Sounders in a long time. Here’s Neagle and Pappa’s heat map from the game

Screen Shot 2015-03-15 at 11.52.08 PMThat’s what out-of-position players pretending to be wingers look like. And that’s how Seattle loses.

Seattle also loses when an overmatched centerback makes disastrous decisions. In the past that’s been Hurtado, Scott, Traore or Anibaba. It was Brad Evans on Saturday, and boy oh boy did he really embrace those growing pains I was worried about.

But it’s early. The sky is not falling. They are still the bluest skies you’ve ever seen.

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