They said, this time, it would be different. It wasn’t.
In not so dissimilar fashion as their “rock-bottom” loss earlier this year, the Seattle Sounders again fell in dispiriting fashion at Real Salt Lake on Saturday. The 2-0 scoreline was actually worse than their earlier loss and it included an almost shocking shot disparity — 17-2 — as the Sounders tied a franchise low with just two attempts on goal.
“We’ve come here twice, we’ve lost twice,” Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid told reporters postgame. “They’ve got to come to our place. We’ll see how it turns out at our place, but I think neither time that we played RSL we were as sharp as we needed to be, so part of that is a tribute to them and part of that is on us, so I've got to worry about us and get us to together.”
Unlike the previous game, the Sounders at least managed to avoid giving up an early goal. Although they weren’t creating many chances, the defense held firm through the first 40 minutes and looked perfectly capable of getting into halftime with a scoreless tie.
A free kick just outside the penalty area in the 41st minute changed the complexion of the game. Javier Morales’ shot hit the wall, but it ricocheted to Kyle Beckerman at the far post. The midfielder hit it first time before Sounders defender Djimi Traoré could close him down and rocketed his shot just under the crossbar for a 1-0 lead.
Just after halftime, Robbie Findley made it 2-0 when he scored after Álvaro Saborío’s flubbed shot fell right at his feet.
“From that point on the second half, I thought they pretty much dominated us,” Schmid said. “At that point, I don’t think we made smart decisions or played well and they were the better team for sure.”
The timing of the second goal was especially unfortunate, as the Sounders had come out of halftime feeling as though they were in good position.
“We came out flat,” forward Eddie Johnson said. “Coach talked about it at halftime not giving up anything and they get a goal 40 seconds in and we just dropped our heads.”
Seattle had started the night with a chance to set a franchise record for their best start after 14 matches and, more importantly, could have leapfrogged the LA Galaxy and Vancouver Whitecaps in the Western Conference standings with a victory.
Instead, they’ll head into their third bye week in the past month with nothing better to think about than another frustrating loss to a conference rival. The Sounders have now been outscored by a collective score of 8-1 in three games against RSL and the LA Galaxy, albeit all on the road, with the last two of those losses coming after lengthy breaks.
“We just couldn’t get things going,” said Johnson who, along with Brad Evans, rejoined the Sounders on Thursday after several weeks away with the US national team. “We couldn’t connect passes today. Myself, I wasn’t good enough today. ...
"You know there is no excuse. At the end of the day, the coach put together a strong team to get results and we didn’t do it today.”