TUKWILA, Wash. — Washing away the bitter taste of a 5-1 defeat is no small task. For better or worse, the Seattle Sounders won’t have time to allow it to linger.
Coming off their seemingly out-of-nowhere meltdown against the Colorado Rapids, the Sounders return to action on Wednesday with a Cascadia Cup match against the Vancouver Whitecaps (10 pm ET, TSN/RDS2 in Canada, MLS LIVE in US). A win would move the Sounders back into the Supporters’ Shield lead, clinch a playoff spot and return the Cascadia Cup to Seattle. It would also be the first step in moving past Saturday’s loss.
“I think you just want to get back on the pitch as quickly as possible and put things right,” Sounders midfielder Andy Rose told MLSsoccer.com at Tuesday's training. “It was obviously a tough game. We have to lick our wounds, get back out there and prove that’s not us; that’s not the Seattle Sounders. It was a one-off. We’re much, much better than that. We can compete much harder than that. It’s nice to have a game in such quick succession.”
Trying to salvage a positive from the frustrating night, the Sounders have been preaching the idea that the game can serve as a wake-up call. Head coach Sigi Schmid pointed out that the 2002 LA Galaxy, whom he directed to the Supporters’ Shield and MLS Cup titles, lost 5-0 to the MetroStars the same season.
“You can’t get too high, you can’t get too low, and one game can’t define your whole existence,” Schmid said. “You can’t use outliers, and you can’t use deviations from the standard in saying this is reality. Reality is what you do day in and day out. I think day in and day out, we’ve been a pretty consistent team, and we’ve been pretty solid."
What the Sounders were before the Rapids game was one of the league's top defensive teams. Even after giving up more goals in one half (four) than they had in their previous seven games combined (three), they still rank fourth in MLS with a 1.13 goals-against average.
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“You know games like this can happen,” Sounders goalkeeper Michael Gspurning said. “They shouldn’t, of course, but it happens. We are just human beings. We are not robots. We made a lot of mistakes, especially in the first half. It doesn’t mean we aren’t taking responsibility, but it doesn’t help anymore. Life goes on.