TUKWILA, Wash. – The Seattle Sounders are officially in unfamiliar territory going into Sunday night’s home clash with the Houston Dynamo (10:30 pm ET; ESPN2).
Following a 3-0 stomping at the hands of the LA Galaxy on July 28, Seattle fell 1-0 in their latest matchup against the San Jose Earthquakes, meaning the Sounders have lost consecutive games for the first time in 2014.
The lackluster display in back-to-back games following a strong start to the season is sure to resurface some painful memories for the Seattle faithful. Last year, the Sounders also got off to a fast start and seemed primed to make a run at the Supporters’ Shield crown. But the team faltered mightily down the stretch, going winless in its last seven matches before being unceremoniously knocked out of the MLS Cup Playoffs by the Portland Timbers.
“At this point, that’s got to be an afterthought,” Midfielder Brad Evans said of last season’s nosedive. “Right now it’s just taking each game in hand and winning those games. … I think our focus just remains on getting some points and getting back on the saddle.”
Seattle head coach Sigi Schmid downplayed the idea of the recent losses leading to a similar collapse this year, noting that cold spells are bound to occur over the course of a long season. And Seattle still remain squarely in the midst of the Supporters’ Shield race in spite of the back-to-back losses, sporting a 12-6-2 record and 38 points overall, just one behind league-leading Sporting Kansas City.
“It’s a streaky league,” Schmid said. “You have hot streaks, you have cold streaks. … I’m confident that our team will come out and perform and do what we need to do in the next series of weeks.”
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Schmid also pointed to an improved showing in the San Jose matchup as reason for optimism going forward. The Sounders were shut out in each of the two losses, but they seemed to generate more opportunities against the Earthquakes after struggling to produce good looks throughout the game against the Galaxy.
“In the game against LA we didn’t get any good looks, and we didn’t create much,” Schmid said. “But against San Jose, I thought we created a lot more. We created enough chances to deserve a goal. If we can do the same thing against Houston, create that amount of chances, I’m sure the goals will come.”