SEATTLE – After an early red card and a goalkeeping gaffe derailed the first two games of their season, the Seattle Sounders hoped Saturday night’s battle with the Vancouver Whitecaps at CenturyLink Field would see a reversal of their early-season run of bad luck and bad breaks.
Instead, Seattle (0-3-0, 0pts) have no points to show from their first three games for the first time in franchise history.
This time, Seattle were undone by two hotly-contested Whitecaps penalty kicks that offset a brilliant free-kick goal from Austrian midfielder Andreas Ivanschitz, sending the Sounders to a deflating 2-1 defeat to their Cascadia Cup rivals.
“It seems like right now we’re not catching a break in any way, shape or form,” Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid told reporters after the game. “Obviously it’s got to be better for us to win at the end of the day, but it’s not like I can say the other teams are steamrolling us or things like that.”
Added goalkeeper Stefan Frei: “We’re not getting destroyed here in games. We’ve been unfortunate. We’ve made a couple mistakes here and there and that’s what so far has prevented us from walking away from games with points.”
Seattle fell behind early on Saturday after Whitecaps midfielder Christian Bolanos hit the turf in the Sounders' penalty box and was awarded a controversial PK by referee Mark Geiger in just the 10th minute.
Ivanschitz equalized in highlight-reel fashion in the 52nd, but Seattle defender Chad Marshall was whistled for another penalty 22 minutes later after a sliding tackle on Vancouver’s Blas Perez. The end result was a third-straight loss in which the Sounders maintain they played reasonably well and generated enough chances to get a result, but were unable to overcome mental miscues and breaks that simply didn’t go their way.
“That’s just the story of our season so far,” said defender Zach Scott. “I mean, 0-3 isn’t an impossible hole to climb out of. Not one you want to be in, but you definitely want to be in a situation where at least you know you’re playing good soccer.
“The calls always even out as the season goes on. We’ve all seen it happen before. As long as we stick to it, I think everybody’s, for the most part, positive.”
Schmid echoed Scott’s sentiment. But with three games gone and Seattle now standing alone as the last team in MLS without a point, he also acknowledged that the clock is ticking for his team to get their season on track.
“It’s a results-oriented business. I know that as well as anybody,” Schmid said. “At the end of the day, we’ve got to start getting some results or quite a few of us could be looking for new jobs.”