Seattle admit need to step up for complete defensive effort

TUKWILA, Wash. – Seven goals allowed over a five-match stretch is hardly something to panic over.

What has gotten the Seattle Sounders’ attention, though, is the fact that many of those goals have come on similar kinds of plays. That’s something they plan to rectify as they head into Saturday’s Cascadia Cup showdown with the Vancouver Whitecaps (9 pm ET, NBCSN, live chat on MLSsoccer.com).

“We know now what we have to do much better,” Sounders defender Adam Johansson told MLSsoccer.com on Thursday. “We have to be more aggressive and can’t allow them to have that much space. Any team in this league is good when they have a lot of space. You have to be close to them and work hard as a team.”

Against the San Jose Earthquakes, the Sounders allowed their first goal when Simon Dawkins was able to line up his shot from about 20 yards out without a defender stepping up to stop him. It was reminiscent of the goals Nick LaBrocca and Miller Bolaños scored against them on Sept. 8 and Aug. 25, respectively.

The other goal the Sounders allowed to the Earthquakes was off a corner kick. Chris Wondolowski was able to set up shop just in front of Gspurning without a defender anywhere near him. To make matters worse, Seattle midfielder Steve Zakuani failed to get off the near post, which kept Wondolowski onside.

Although the Sounders have still allowed a league-low six goals on set-pieces this year, that was the second one they’ve surrendered on a corner kick in as many games.

“We’re talking about it of course,” said Sounders goalkeeper Michael Gspurning, whose 0.84 goals-against average is the second best mark in the league. “After every game, we have a video session and we’re talking about it. But talking is not all, we have to play to zero in the back again.

"It starts with me and ends up with the strikers at the front. We know what  mistakes we are doing. To know is good, but it doesn’t mean automatically we stop it. We have to stop it.”

Jeremiah Oshan covers the Seattle Sounders for MLSsoccer.com and SB Nation.