TUKWILA, Wash. — Every disaster is an opportunity, or so the saying goes.
It’s certainly not a mantra the Seattle Sounders wanted to be repeating, but that’s what their season has been reduced to for a second straight year following Sunday's 3-0 loss to the LA Galaxy in the first leg of the Western Conference Championship.
“We got an earful, we talked a little about it this morning and how we all have to move forward and move on and forget about what’s happened,” Sounders defender Jeff Parke told reporters at training on Tuesday. “Fix the mistakes but also come together so that we can do something special here. They could be talking about us for a while if we can pull this off. We all believe in each other and believe we can get it done.”
Only one team in MLS history has come back from a three-goal deficit to win a two-game aggregate-goal series. That was in 2003 when the San Jose Earthquakes lost the first leg of the Western Conference Semifinals to the Galaxy 2-0 and then gave up the first two goals in the return leg only to score four straight in regulation and win it 5-4 in overtime.
Although it’s clearly a situation they would rather not relive, the Sounders have their own experience with a 3-0 deficit to fall back on as well. That was the situation a year ago after they lost to Real Salt Lake in the first leg of the Western semifinals. Seattle managed to make it interesting with a pair of goals, but ultimately fell 3-2 on aggregate.
Any real lessons from that series appear to have been lost, though.
“Obviously, we didn’t learn from anything,” Sounders midfielder Brad Evans said.
Frustrations aside, the Sounders seemed to realize that lamenting their situation and worrying about how they got here won’t make things any better.
“To me, it’s a discouraging, a tough one to swallow but it’s something you have to move on from,” Parke said. “If you don’t, you shouldn’t be playing in this league or any professional sport because there’s just going to be times where things don’t go your way and you’re not at your best.
“Keep working and keep believing that anything is possible. So many stories have been written and things have come from teams that haven’t quit when they should have.”
Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid said Mauro Rosales continues to improve and that Leo González was able to fully participate in practice. The concern with González is more fitness-related, as he has not played since Oct. 7.
“Even having him available off the bench is something that could help us,” Schmid said of the Costa Rican defender. “He’s an experienced player, he wants to get out there. We’ll have to see how close he is.”