HARRISON, N.J. – Even with his team trailing 1-0 at halftime of their Sunday night road matchup with the New York Red Bulls at Red Bull Arena, Seattle Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid didn’t see the need for any sort of drastic adjustments.
Seattle generated plenty of chances through the opening frame and claimed 56.9 percent of possession, and only trailed due to a rebound shot from RBNY's Mike Grella that was made possible by a gorgeous distance strike from Sacha Kljestan that rang the woodwork.
“Continue to play the way we’re playing,” Schmid said of his halftime message to his squad. “Our tactics were right. We had talked about the tactics, we had talked about the way we wanted to play and the guys had followed that. We opened them up fairly well. I said, 'continue to do what we’re doing and we can get goals.'”
Seattle would fall victim to the same theme in the second half, however, giving up another tally to Grella in the 59th minute and proving unable to find one of their own, falling 2-0 and sliding to 5-8-1 in league play this season. The Sounders have now netted just three times in their last five games overall.
“It’s the worst feeling in the world,” Sounders forward Jordan Morris said of his team’s recent offensive struggles. “It’s kind of on your shoulders [to finish chances]. We played so well today. It’s on me to finish those chances and I didn’t.”
Schmid tried one notable new tactical adjustment to offset the absence of forward Clint Dempsey, still away on national team duty. Joevin Jones, normally the team’s starting left back, was given his first start of the year as a winger.
But Jones couldn’t find the scoresheet on Sunday after netting as a substitute in Seattle’s last MLS game, against D.C. United, and in their US Open Cup game last Wednesday.
“I thought [Jones] wasn’t in the game the first 10-15 minutes,” Schmid said “But then he got some good chances to run at [Red Bulls defender Sal] Zizzo and I thought he created some problems. I just would have wanted to see him do it a little more.”