Some losses are hurt more than others. But it’s rare that it comes in as literal a way as the Seattle Sounders’ latest.
The Sounders were forced to use all three of their subs on injury replacements by the 53rd minute, setting the stage for a 1-0 loss to the San Jose Earthquakes.
As if just to add salt to the wound, they also lost Osvaldo Alonso to a red card deep into stoppage time. Along the way, they generated just six shots and forced Jon Busch to make only a single save while matching a franchise record by losing their third straight road game.
“You can’t create chances when a team kicks you and doesn’t want to play soccer,” Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid said. “I have nothing against the coaching staff and nothing against the players, but today was just an ugly, ugly, ugly, ugly, ugly, ugly game of soccer.”
The same could be said about the Sounders’ injury situation. The latest injuries and possible suspension could leave them with 12 players unavailable for next week’s game against the Colorado Rapids.
Joining the already bulging list of injured Sounders players were Brad Evans (rib), Djimi Traore (hamstring) and Michael Gspurning (forearm). There was no word immediately after the game as to the extent of any of their injuries, but Gspurning was wearing a sling on the sideline.
Almost from the opening kick, the Sounders seemed to be dealing with knocks, as Evans went down with a rib injury in the 4th minute. He managed to stay in the game, but had to come out in the 33rd minute. In the 14th minute, Traore went down with an injury. He too stayed in before finally coming out in the 53rd minute.
The biggest blow to the Sounders’ health came in the 19th minute when Michael Gspurning made a save just in front of an on-charging Steven Lenhart. Although Gspurning kept the ball out of the net, Lenhart appeared to clip the goalkeeper. Gspurning stayed down for several minutes and was able to finish out the half, but was replaced by Andrew Weber for the final 45 minutes.
“Every time I caught a ball it was horrible,” Gspurning told reporter Jeffrey Carlisle. “I said to the coaches, 'It is not possible to play.'”
Perhaps equally as troubling as their injury situation is the Sounders’ suddenly poor road form. One of the top road teams over the previous four seasons, they’ve now been shut out in three straight road games and failed to score in four of five away from CenturyLink Field, a span of games that has seen them outscored 9-2.
“I thought it was a very physical game with no rhythm of play,” Sounders midfielder Servando Carrasco said, alluding to the 35 fouls and seven combined cards issued to both teams. “We couldn’t really establish possession because we felt like every other pass was a foul. That was just the nature of the game today.”