Just when it was looking like the Seattle Sounders had exorcised their road demons, a result like Saturday’s served as a reminder that very bad things still can and do happen away from CenturyLink Field.
The Sounders gave up the second-fastest goal in MLS history, found themselves down 2-0 by the 10th minute, went into halftime trailing 4-0 and ultimately limped home after a 5-1 loss to the Colorado Rapids. The losing margin equaled the Sounders’ worst loss in franchise history and the five goals were the most they have ever allowed in league play.
“We have to learn that that’s not good enough,” Seattle head coach Sigi Schmid told reporters. “You can’t walk on the field and assume that you’re going to be in the game. You have to be in the game mentally right from the beginning of the game.”
The match could not have started any worse for the Sounders, who allowed Deshorn Brown to score just 14 seconds after kickoff. Before they could even catch their breath, the Sounders were down 2-0 after Dillon Powers took advantage of a slow-to-organize defense and headed in a corner kick.
And it just got worse from there.
Brown got his second when he outmuscled fellow Rookie of the Year candidate DeAndre Yedlin for a long ball and then slotted it past Michael Gspurning to make it 3-0. Drew Moor finally capped the first-half scoring on another goal off a corner kick.
Adding just a little more salt to the wound is the second yellow card that centerback Zach Scott was issued in the 79th minute. He’ll now miss the Sounders’ next two games, as he has also received five yellow cards.
That basically took the shine off what had otherwise been a respectable second-half performance.
“I thought our fight was there,” Schmid said about the second half. “I thought we came out and I thought we played well in the first 20 minutes. Overall when you look at the flow of the game, I didn’t think we got completely outplayed, I think we got countered on, and when you give up two set-piece goals and a goal in the first 30 seconds, you know, that’s unacceptable.”
While the Sounders’ 5-8-2 road record actually isn’t all that bad, the nature of many of their losses could be cause for concern. The Sounders now have a -11 goal differential on the road, which includes a 1-4-1 record and -10 goal-difference against the other Western Conference teams currently in playoff position.
Of course, it’s better for losses like this to come in the regular season than in the playoffs, the way they have in each of the past two seasons.
“It’s good to get your ass kicked at this time of the year, just to remind you that this is the real thing,” said Schmid. “And if you don’t come out completely prepared mentally and ready to give everything you have, you’re going to get your ass kicked.”