Seattle Sounders battle scoring woes for third straight postseason game

CARSON, Calif. -- The goals haven’t accompanied the Supporters’ Shield winners into these playoffs, but Seattle Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid isn't losing much sleep over it.

Seattle were held scoreless again Sunday in a 1-0 loss to the LA Galaxy in the first leg of the Western Conference Championship, failing to find the back of the net for the second consecutive game. They have only one goal in 270 minutes this postseason, the fewest of the four remaining MLS Cup contenders.

Yet with their backs up against the wall and their offense in an untimely funk, the Sounders are staying optimistic.

“If we weren’t creating chances, I’d be concerned,” Schmid told reporters at StubHub Center. “But we’re creating chances and we had some looks.”

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The Sounders, who ranked second in the league with 65 goals during the regular season, had 10 attempts on goal Sunday, but were unable to bag a crucial away goal like they did in the opener against FC Dallas in the previous round.

Forward Clint Dempsey had a couple golden opportunities, the first coming in the 20th minute when he almost cleaned up an Obafemi Martins shot that goalkeeper Jaime Penedo cleared off the line. Dempsey had another look early in the second half, but was unable to finish his transitional sequence with Martins.

“It’s frustrating,” Dempsey told reporters. “The first one was a deflection and the ball kind of came high on me, so what I tried to do was just get it down and [Penedo] made a good reaction save. And the other one was a give-and-go with Oba, and the ball was kind of behind me a little bit. I dragged it with my left foot and had a good first touch, but I didn’t have a good angle so I had to try to chip ‘em. When I went to chip ‘em, [Penedo] barely got a hand on it. Still, I’m excited with the chances that we created. We’ve just got to score.”

Dempsey, who was credited with four shots Sunday, has not scored in the previous four games, while Martins hasn’t found the net since Oct. 5, a span of six games. Though he admitted that combination isn’t positive, Schmid reiterated he’s not worried as the Sounders return home for the second leg at CenturyLink Field on Nov. 30.

“[Dempsey] had two one-on-ones with the goalkeeper; if he buries those two, you’re all saying he’s the impactful player of the game,” Schmid said. “As a forward, what you’re trying to do is get yourself in a position to score goals. And he was in that position a couple times.”

Midfielder Gonzalo Pineda said the Sounders have to be more aggressive next week to regain their offensive rhythm.

"We need to be quicker and play forward to be dangerous with Oba and Clint," Pineda said. "We had some good looks at the game.”