SANTA CLARA, Calif. – It may not have been as bad as their deflating 3-0 loss to the LA Galaxy on Monday, but Saturday night’s 1-0 defeat at San Jose left the Seattle Sounders with one big takeaway:
It’s not March and April any more.
“It’s a streaky league and we’ve been on pretty good streaks,” Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid told reporters after Saturday’s loss at Levi’s Stadium, the first time all season Western Conference-leading Seattle have lost two games in a row.
“We haven’t really had a bad streak yet. For us right now, maybe this is our bad streak and we just have to make sure we get out of it quickly, and I think we have the talent and the ability to get out of it.”
The chances generated by the Sounders were a drastic departure from Monday’s clunker against the Galaxy, where they struggled to generate legitimate opportunities.
This time, Seattle had the looks but were thwarted on multiple occasions by the San Jose defense and ’keeper Jon Busch, who made eight saves on the night.
The Sounders also got an improved performance from Clint Dempsey following a quiet performance against LA. The star forward notched three good chances on goal, including a bicycle kick in the 69th minute that sailed just over the goal, just missing what would have been a highlight-reel equalizer.
But in the end, even a late formation change couldn’t help overturn Yannick Djalo’s 42nd-minute strike that stood up as San Jose’s game-winner in front of nearly 49,000 at brand-new Levi’s Stadium.
“I thought we created chances in the second half,” Schmid said, “especially when we switched to 3-5-2, but even before that, we had some good looks off corner kicks. I can’t be displeased, I thought we played much better than we played on Monday.”
Still, there is some reason to be concerned as the Sounders again appeared discombobulated on defense in the absence of former MLS Defender of the Year Chad Marshall, who missed his second straight game due to back spasms and was forced to pull out of Wednesday's MLS All-Star Game in Portland.
Despite the loss, midfielder Brad Evans said there are positive aspects of Seattle’s play that the team can point to as it moves on to its home date next Sunday, Aug. 10, against Houston.
“There is definitely some positive stuff we can take away from tonight,” Evans told reporters. “Each loss can feel different. Sometimes you can get a win and feel like you stole it. But this loss feels like we obviously progressed from last game.”