It’s now official: The Seattle Sounders are off to the worst start in franchise history.
The 2-1 loss to Real Salt Lake on Saturday dropped the Sounders to 0-3-1. It also gave them consecutive losses for the first time since dropping the first two matches of the 2011 season, a stretch of 69 regular-season matches that was the longest in MLS history.
There was enough concern that the Sounders held a 45-minute, closed-door meeting following the match.
"There's got to be a lot of soul-searching in that locker room and with us as a staff as well,” head coach Sigi Schmid told reporters after the game. “We’re picking and choosing when we want to play. We’ve got moments in the game where three or four guys are involved and other guys aren’t. We’ve yet to get to where 11 guys are involved for 90 minutes.”
The scoreline was probably flattering.
The Sounders were outshot 25-8 and found themselves playing from behind just eight minutes in. They were trailing 2-0 by the 35th minute.
If not for the play of Michael Gspurning it could have been much worse. The goalkeeper was under siege much of the night, coming up with several saves on RSL breakaways and keeping the score reasonably close. Gspurning wound up with seven saves, two more than he had ever previously been asked to make since joining the Sounders last season.
The Sounders also caught a break when Marc Burch was able to clear a ball off the line in the 34th minute.
“We didn’t play well,” Seattle midfielder Steve Zakuani said. “They could have been up 5-0 on us at half. We improved our play in the second half – we did what we could, but the game was lost by then.”
Brad Evans’ goal in the 54th minute gave the Sounders some life, but they never came particularly close to finding the equalizer.
They’ll now turn their attention to the CONCACAF Champions League semifinals, where they’ll play Santos Laguna in the first leg on Tuesday.
“Now, it’s time to react, and we don’t need more talk – we need more action on the pitch,” Sounders defender Djimi Traoré said. “The way you train is the way you play, and all that matters is what you do, what you show on the pitch. We need to take orders, take responsibility, and yes of course I’m bothered by [the start].”