SEATTLE – There was no miracle comeback this time.
Just three days after Seattle scored twice in the late going to defeat San Jose, Seattle succumbed to defensive mistakes in a 2-1 loss to Monterrey on Tuesday in their group-stage finale of the CONCACAF Champions League. In the defeat, the Sounders’ defensive miscues caught up to them as the top spot in Group D—and a home game in the second leg of the quarterfinals—slipped through their fingers.
Even though Seattle still advanced, coach Sigi Schmid criticized his team in the locker room for giving up two “soft” goals.
“The first goal was a bad play from our backs in terms of playing offside that early in the game, which is something we tell them not to do,” Schmid told reporters postgame. “The second goal is a giveaway. We have the assist on the goal.”
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“You can’t give up soft goals because you’re not always going to be able to resurrect yourself and score goals at the end of the game and win,” Schmid added.
Defensive performance looms as an issue for Seattle heading into the MLS Cup playoffs – the team has only one shutout to its credit in the past eight matches. While the club has posted three come-from-behind wins during that stretch—against Vancouver, New England and San Jose—the trend remains a troubling one.
Against Monterrey, the effect of the loss won’t be felt until next spring. With the pairings yet to be made, a difficult trip to Mexico might await the Sounders in early 2012.
“Most of the group winners are going to be Mexican teams, so the chances are you’re going to match up against a Mexican team which makes the task a little bit harder than if you were to come out at the other end,” Schmid said. “I know Toronto still has a chance to win their group; LA has a chance to win their group ... who knows how the draw turns out.”
Jeff Parke, who started and played 67 minutes in his return from a concussion, was critical of his own performance as well. The veteran defender yielded for Patrick Ianni in the second half, with Sigi Schmid loathe to lose another center back after Zach Scott’s yellow card ruled him out of the first leg of the quarterfinals.
“We definitely gave them the game tonight,” Parke said.
Andrew Winner covers the Seattle Sounders for MLSsoccer.com.