TUKWILA, Wash. – No Seattle Sounders players are arguing they “deserved” better than the 1-0 loss they suffered on Wednesday.
They do, however, remain more than a little upset at how Tigres UANL put them in a hole heading into the second leg of their CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal on Tuesday.
“I think it was offsides,” Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid told reporters after Friday’s training session. “I know what the interpretation is and I know the referee’s interpretation is going to be that the guy who actually scored the goal wasn’t actually offsides. But the ball is hit directly at the guy who’s offside. He’s standing six yards in front of the goalkeeper, so he’s taking the goalkeeper’s attention.”
Tigres’ goal came in 74th minute when Alan Pulido scored off a rebound from a Lucas Lobos shot. The contention comes from the positioning of Carlos Salcido, who was in an obvious offside position when Alberto Acosta made the pass. Salcido never made a play on the ball, but he was in what Schmid dubbed “the sphere of influence” as he trudged across the goal area.
“If that’s not offside, then as a defense you can never push out anymore,” Schmid continued. “You might as well say anybody can stand offsides as long as they don’t touch the ball. Then you have to alter how you’re going to coach in those situations.”
While goalkeepers and referees may be taught to ignore players in offside positions if they don’t play the ball, Michael Gspurning said that’s a rather impossible task.
“There’s no chance for me to think about this in that situation,” he told MLSsoccer.com. “If there are two players so close together, I think it should be always offside. The second player is irritating the 'keeper the same way the second one does.”
Gspurning pointed out that a similar situation popped up about 10 minutes before the goal when a Tigres player found himself in a 1-on-1 situation on a breakaway. Gspurning stopped the shot, only to realize that the player had been flagged offside.
Neither Gspurning nor Schmid wanted to lay too much blame at the feet of the five defenders who were in the area but none of whom made any effort to defend once the pass came into the box.
“They’re all thinking the guy is offsides,” Schmid said. “They’re just waiting for the flag to go up. I’m not going to scream at them at that point where it’s like, ‘OK, well they should’ve played on.’
“It’s like you always assuming something bad is going to happen, so you never go anywhere because, ‘Well, I can’t leave because something bad is going to happen. So I can’t ever leave.’ So saying to your defense, ‘You should’ve come back, because you should’ve assumed there was absolutely no call going to be made,’ well then maybe [they’ll say], ‘I shouldn’t have pushed up, coach. I should’ve just stayed where I was because no call was going to be made. If I have to assume the worst-case scenario then I become frozen.’”