SEATTLE – One mistake is all it often takes to ruin an otherwise strong performance.
The Seattle Sounders made two big ones in Saturday’s 2-1 loss to Toronto FC at CenturyLink Field.
“[We’re] obviously disappointed, especially since we gave up two goals that were really soft,” Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid said. “We gave them two gifts.”
The first came in the 17th minute. Brad Evans had left the field to address a calf injury and was waved back on as Toronto FC were taking a free kick. The Sounders defense seemed a bit disjointed as they attempted to scramble into position.
The Sounders did not react particularly well. Seven minutes later, Defoe was able to pick off a stray Marco Pappa pass and again beat Frei with a virtually uncontested shot.
“We need to do better,” Sounders center back Djimi Traore said. “Last year we did the same things. We need to react more and be more active.”
As frustrating as the immediate response was, Traore noted he was encouraged by the play following the second goal.
For the final 15 minutes of the first half and the entire second half, the Sounders were the better team, finishing with a 13-8 shots advantage and out-possessing TFC 68-32. But for all the Sounders’ statistical domination, the only thing they had to show for it was a single goal from Clint Dempsey.
“I thought the halftime adjustments were good,” Evans said. “They wanted to sit back, so we used our wings more. We used DeAndre [Yedlin], we used Dylan [Remick] and getting crosses in. It was just inches at a certain point. We were close, very close.”
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The Sounders hardly capitulated in this one. But the problem of small errors snowballing into game-changing events was a theme in 2013 and it has now reared its ugly head again.
The Sounders are confident it won’t become a recurring theme.
“I think this is where character comes through – when the going’s tough and it really matters,” Frei said. “We really responded well. With that being said, we can’t be going into half at home being down 2-0. We shouldn’t put ourselves in that situation, so we don’t have to dig out of that. It’s something to build on.”