Seattle Sounders must "get back to competing" after another Cascadia Cup loss


Seattle Sounders FC are still second on the Western Conference table following Matchday 14, but it certainly doesn't feel like it.

Coming off Saturday night's 2-0 defeat at Cascadia Cup rival Vancouver Whitecaps FC, the Rave Green are mired in a 2W-4L-1D skid in league play dating back to April 15, seeing their return to the West's peak evaporate.

After hoping to use a Rivalry Week fixture to turn fortunes around, the same defensive miscues that have plagued Seattle in recent weeks instead surfaced again, which was head coach Brian Schmetzer's cause of most concern during his postgame press conference.

"We have to get back to competing," Schmetzer said. "Actually winning our duels and making plays and making sure we understand that it's life or death inside the penalty box. I think some of that will carry over into clean sheets, which always gives you a chance to win or collect points. That's what's most disturbing to me is we've just given up, in my opinion, some soft goals, and so we have to stop that.

"There's been times where this franchise has been under it even more," the coach added. "It's a good thing we started off the season on a good note. Teams are actually catching us fairly quickly, so we've got to put an end to that right away."

"We're not going to panic"

As Seattle look to bounce back with three straight home matches at Lumen Field – they host the New York Red Bulls (May 27), San Jose Earthquakes (May 31) and Portland Timbers (June 3) in quick succession – veteran goalkeeper Stefan Frei emphasized the necessity of maintaining level heads and turning this situation into a positive.

"I don't think we're spiraling, no, we're not spiraling, we're not going to panic," Frei said. "We're going to put our heads down, we're going to work hard, we're going to stick together, work for each other and take this club and this team as far as we can.

"These moments are important because this is where you grow as a team. If you're cruising throughout the whole year it's going to be difficult in the playoffs. Not saying that I wouldn't prefer for us to be on top the whole time, but these are the moments that are really going to make you grow as a team.

"It's about turning that frustration into something a bit more positive or productive. A little bit of anger, a little bit of bite. That can help us in the next three games."

Ruidíaz, Roldan returning?

Seattle's recent attacking struggles have occurred during the injury-related absences of star forward Raúl Ruidíaz and US international midfielder Cristian Roldan, both of whom have been sidelined for the majority of this recent stretch. Ruidíaz has been nursing an injured hamstring, while Roldan hasn't played since suffering a concussion against St. Louis CITY SC back on April 8.

Schmetzer indicated both players are slated to return to the training ground at Starfire Sports Complex next week. While he didn't guarantee either would feature when Seattle take on the Red Bulls at Lumen Field next Saturday (10:30 pm ET | MLS Season Pass), the coach is confident his goal-hungry forward and dynamic right midfielder will provide a boost.

"We've got some injuries, those are no excuse, that's just the facts. MLS is a tough league, you have to play through those moments and spells when you don't have your top players," Schmetzer said.

"But we're getting them back, we're close. So I think that'll be a big boost. I think the minute Raúl steps on the field on Tuesday, the minute Cristian steps on the field again on Tuesday, you'll feel the group get a little bit better, a little bit stronger. So we're keeping our fingers crossed that we can hold on until those guys are back and then see if we can't get some results at home."