Struggles away from home continue to haunt the Seattle Sounders.
A week after showing signs that those troubles may be behind them with a win in Toronto, the Sounders lost to the Houston Dynamo 3-1 on Saturday. The loss dropped their record away from CenturyLink Field to 4-7-1, setting a franchise record for most road losses in a season with five still left to play.
“That’s not a concern for me,” head coach Sigi Schmid told reporters after the game. “You win on the road, you lose on the road. Sometimes you have more difficult games on the road. It’s just one of those things. Records are made to be broken.”
Unlike some of their past road losses, though, the Sounders were at least dangerous in this one. They fired off a season-high 20 shots and easily could have scored two or three more goals. At the same time, there were a ton of wasted opportunities and they only forced Dynamo goalkeeper Tally Hall into a pair of saves.
“We gave up some goals early, our body-language wasn’t good, we handed them opportunities early,” Schmid said. “After that, though, I thought we were as much in the game as they were. It’s easily a game that could have been 3-3 or 4-4 just on the chances we had.
“I thought we fought, we battled all the way until the end.”
Among the more frustrating misses were an unmarked diving header by Mauro Rosales from a Lamar Neagle cross; an open look for Marc Burch inside the penalty area from a slick Clint Dempsey backheel that was tipped over the crossbar; and a shot that Neagle redirected off the goalpost from a Brad Evans pass.
Dempsey, who much of the attention leading up to the game revolved around, had several good looks as well and ended with a team-high four shots. The United States international is a Texas native and this marked his first MLS game here since the 2006 MLS Cup final, a game his team (then the New England Revolution) also lost.
“You gotta play games to get fitness. So far I’ve only played two competitive games since I was off with the national team,” Dempsey said. “It’s good to get my first 90 minutes, and fitness is getting there and still working on that sharpness. That final shot in front of goal was lacking a little bit tonight. I like to think that I could have put at least one of those opportunities away.”