The scene following Tuesday’s game at San Francisco's Kezar Stadium was an increasingly familiar one.
Benches from both teams were cleared. There was much pushing and shoving. Accusations and recriminations were flying.
The Seattle Sounders had just beaten the San Jose Earthquakes in a physical, hard-fought US Open Cup quarterfinal, but for the third straight game, the lasting narrative was about the postgame antics.
“No, I’m not happy with it,” Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid told reporters during a Wednesday teleconference. “It’s something we’ve talked about as a team and we talked about it again briefly last night after the game and we’ll address it again. It’s important for us to maintain our composure.
“It’s not something that we want to do. It’s not something I’m happy about. It’s something we need to get away from," Schmid added. "But when somebody kicks you, your first reaction is to kick them back at some point. It’s easy to say you shouldn’t do that, but sometimes it’s hard when you’re in the emotion of the game to not do that. It’s something that we as a team need to get better at and not allow teams to take us out of our game.”
The Sounders and rival Portland Timbers got into a similar situtation during their game last Sunday (at right) that resulted in ejections for Fredy Montero and Lovell Palmer, and Schmid's group also got into a postgame scuffle with the Chicago Fire on April 28 at Toyota Park after a gritty 2-1 Seattle win.
Chicago defender Jalil Anibaba was suspended for his rough tackle that led to pushing and shoving after the final whistle, and Fire head coach Frank Klopas was later suspended for his role in the incident. Sounders striker Eddie Johnson was fined for using an innapropriate gesture toward the fans as he left the field.
Johnson was in the middle of the goings-on after Tuesday's match, after he got into a physical altercation with unused Earthquakes reserve Jed Zayner.
“I think Eddie was very happy we had won the game,” Schmid explained, noting that he’s always found the San Jose fans to be among the most “abrasive” in the league. “He was, after the game, pounding on his Sounders logo and was proud that the the Sounders had won. Unfortunately, he had done that in front of their fans and was sort of in front of their bench.
"At which time, I told Brian [Schmetzer], our assistant, ‘Brian, just go get Eddie out of there.’ And then somebody pushed Eddie at that point. I’m not going to say who it was on their side who pushed him.”
Schmid was reluctant to be too critical of Johnson, as the poor video quality of the incident has left the coach having to rely on personal accounts of what may have happened after that.
He did acknowledge that Johnson didn’t help the situation with his celebration.
“I’ll take care of Eddie Johnson,” said Schmid, indicating some kind of internal punishment could be meted out. “I just don’t like it when other teams are trying to take care of my players. I don’t try to take care of their players and I don’t need them trying to take care of my players.”
As frustrating as the way the game deteriorated may have been, Schmid said he found plenty of positives from the win that sent the Sounders to their sixth straight Open Cup semifinal.
“We know we beat right now the best team in MLS in a valiant, courageous effort,” he said. “Hopefully that will provide us some backdrop as we move forward.”
Jeremiah Oshan covers the Seattle Sounders for MLSsoccer.com and SB Nation.