This was not how the Seattle Sounders wanted to bid farewell to their US national team players.
After looking virtually unstoppable during their recent five-game winning streak, the Sounders were absolutely flattened by the New England Revolution. By the time the smoke from the repeatedly-firing muskets had cleared on Sunday, the Sounders found themselves on the wrong end of a 5-0 loss, the most lopsided defeat in team history.
“It was just one of those days, you know,” Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid told reporters afterward. “We know we’re going to lose some games this year, but I thought we threw too many people forward, left ourselves exposed for the counter. I thought they did a good job of countering today. They executed well when they got forward, and it’s just a game that we got to forget about.”
The Sounders had come into the match unbeaten in six overall and 3-0-1 in their four previous road games. There had been some troubling trends developing, though.
Even during the unbeaten run, the Sounders had trailed at some point in five of those games and had not recorded a shutout in their previous seven. The penchant for comeback results surely buoyed the Sounders after Patrick Mullins gave the Revolution an early lead on a 14th-minute goal.
For the first 25 minutes or so, the Sounders actually looked to be the better team. Mullins’ goal actually came against the run of play, as the Sounders were dominating possession and chances. Obafemi Martins had the Sounders’ best look, but his open header from just a couple yards out in the fourth minute went right at Revolution goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth.
“We had possession of the ball,” Schmid said, brushing aside assertions the Sounders were tired after playing three games in nine days. “We were the ones holding the ball, knocking the ball around, so it wasn’t a situation where our legs were so heavy that we couldn’t play soccer. We played soccer, but I think maybe psychologically, maybe we weren’t as alert as we needed to be in certain occasions, you know, around the box and maybe defensively as well. Even defensively, our positional defense was not good.”
The game started to get away in the 30th minute when Diego Fagundez scored his third career goal against the Sounders in his third appearance. That was followed a few minutes later by a Teal Bunbury goal and then Fagundez effectively put the match away with a 40th-minute strike. The Revolution got an own goal off Chad Marshall’s shoulder just after halftime to close out the scoring.
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“I’m not really sure what happened, a couple of defensive errors and we were down 3-0,” Sounders captain Brad Evans said. “I feel like we have one of these games every single year where we get blown out, like last year in Colorado where we got crushed [5-1]. There’s no excuse. We said we were ready to go and a couple of defensive lapses put us on the back foot and now all we can do is prepare for San Jose.”
Fresh off their first goal-less performance of the season, the Sounders will have to regroup without some of their top players. Clint Dempsey and Evans are among the favorites to make the US World Cup team and miss at least four MLS matches. There’s also a possibility that DeAndre Yedlin could join the pre-World Cup training camp and miss at least a couple games.
The Sounders have long championed their improved depth. That will now be put to the test.
“We will bounce back,” Schmid said. “That’s all. There’s no other option.”