Sounders GK Meredith left in limbo after Columbus loss
TUKWILA, Wash. — Bryan Meredith couldn’t have started his MLS career in much more impressive fashion. The Seattle Sounders goalkeeper didn’t give up a first goal in his first 275 minutes in net and earned two shutouts in the process.
Since then, though, things have not gone quite so well. In the 220 minutes since his shutout streak was broken, Meredith has given up five goals, and the Sounders have gone 0-2-1.
Meredith was particularly hard on himself for the second goal he allowed in a 2-0 loss to the Columbus Crew on Wednesday. Emilio Renteria struck a bouncing ball from about 30 yards out that caught Meredith wandering a little too far off his line.
Although Meredith got a piece of the ball, he was unable to keep it out of the net, which all but sealed the Sounders’ fate.
"Yeah, that's a tough goal,” Meredith said after the game. “We're pushing the whole second half. We have a lot of the ball, a lot of opportunities. Then, a little scramble, he wins the ball and just strikes it first-time. I'm definitely not expecting him to hit that first-time. I don't think any of us were. But he hit it well. If I could have just dropped back a little quicker, I think it would have been an easier save, rather than a goal."
WATCH: Renteria beats Meredith from distance
While acknowledging that Meredith could have probably played the ball better than he did, Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid was reluctant to be too hard on his 22-year-old goalkeeper.
“It’s part of the growing process, part of the learning process for him,” Schmid said after the team’s training session on Thursday. “He just has to leave it behind and look at the next task. That’s the biggest thing for any athlete, whether it’s soccer or any sport, you have to focus on the next thing at hand.”
It doesn’t sound as if Meredith has lost any of the faith his teammates have in him, either.
“Obviously, he’s playing for a reason,” Sounders midfielder Brad Evans said. “He’s been solid when he has come in, there’s no reason to get down. You’re going to take goals; you’re not going to go the whole season without taking goals.”
Schmid stopped short of announcing who will start against Chivas USA on Saturday, but he didn’t give any indication that a change was in the offing. Michael Gspurning was ruled out for the match by Schmid, who said they are hoping to have their No. 1 goalkeeper back in time for the match against the Montreal Impact on June 16.
The other option would be giving a chance to MLS veteran Andrew Weber, who slipped behind Meredith on the depth chart after suffering an ankle injury during a Reserve League game.
“He’s training hard, had a good training session today,” Schmid said of Weber. “[Possibly starting is] always something we discuss.”
Schmid called the chance of fullback Adam Johansson playing this weekend "remote." Johansson suffered a right hamstring injury on Wednesday and was pulled in the 61st minute. He is undergoing a MRI to determine the severity of the injury. Johansson missed six games earlier this year with a left hamstring injury.
Jeremiah Oshan covers the Seattle Sounders for MLSsoccer.com and SB Nation.