SEATTLE — It wasn’t the win they were looking for, but the Seattle Sounders were doing their best to take positives away from their season finale.
The 1-1 tie against the LA Galaxy on Sunday at least halted the Sounders’ franchise-worst four-game losing streak, although it did mean they ended the season winless in their final seven games and means they’ll have to play again on Wednesday when they host the Colorado Rapids in the Knockout Round.
“The most important thing is that we play well and get results,” Seattle head coach Sigi Schmid told reporters. “I think today it was important, as well, to stop the bleeding a little bit, so to get a tie out of it — we had a win that was almost there, we gave up a goal after we had the lead and we talked about playing to zero at halftime.
"We also played the team that’s the two-time defending champions and we played them even, and even had more at times. We just have to continue to know what that did for us and build upon it.”
To Schmid’s point, the Sounders out shot the Galaxy 13-12 and had 59 percent of the possession.
At least some of the credit for the improved play was given to a diamond-midfield formation the Sounders deployed, something they have not used extensively this season. Clint Dempsey was used at the top of the diamond, with Brad Evans and Adam Moffat forming the outside edges and Osvaldo Alonso in the back.
“I thought the first half was great,” Evans said. “It was a lot of fun to play. Early in the week, we said we’re going to go into a diamond and kind of switch things up a little bit. Get a little more possession and get back to how we were playing in the middle of the year, getting our outside backs involved and passing through the windows. In the first half, I thought we did that.
“Overall, it was much better and much more fun to be involved with.”
Dempsey seemed to be biggest beneficiary of the new formation, as much of the play flowed through him. He responded by scoring his first goal since signing with Seattle, ending a 590-minute scoreless drought.
"It is always good to score,” Dempsey said. “You don't want to have a goose egg for the season. It is good to get on the score sheet and hopefully they will start coming a little easier now. I knew that it was just a matter of time, but more important are the goals that we will be scoring from here on out. Those will count the most because they are coming in the playoffs.”
That journey starts with virtually no time to rest. And while it was not the preferred path, the Sounders are well aware that both of last year’s finalists came out of the Knockout Round.
“It’s definitely doable, but I wouldn’t say you want to do it,” said Moffat, whose Houston Dynamo were advanced to the MLS Cup final last year despite being the No. 5 seed. “We’re in the position we’re in, and I don’t think it’s too bad.”