The Seattle Sounders and New England Revolution played to an exciting 3-3 draw at CenturyLink Field on Saturday, but Sounders head coach Brian Schmetzer was the opposite of excited by the result, calling it the "worst possible feeling that you can have" after a game.
Seattle led 3-2 until the dying minutes of the game, when New England drew a penalty from a handball in the box by Sounders midfielder Jordy Delem. Carles Gil converted the spot kick in the 87th minute and the teams split the points.
Schmetzer explained why the draw was in some ways a worse feeling than a loss might have been.
"If you get outplayed or something, you lose, it sucks. I get it," he told reporters in the postgame press conference. "But to come back and go ahead and come back 3-2, and then give up a penalty, miss some chances, miss some sitters...It's not easy to deal with at all. Those guys in there are gutted."
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Delem's handball looked like a close call, the ball hitting the player from close proximity, but with Schmetzer asked about the referee's call on that play he declined to respond specifically — "I don't comment on the refereeing, so I'll just avoid that question. It happened, we have to move past it" — he admitted he thought the call was within current standards.
"It's one of those things, back in the day somebody might have said 'ball to hand' because Jordy is defending and the ball hits him, but nowadays those are called penalties," Schmetzer said. "So it's unfortunate that we couldn't finish them off on the other end prior to that play, because we had chances to put that game away."
The manager was most concerned about the team's defense, as the Sounders have conceded six goals in their last two games, both at home.
"It's high alert. I have always said that defense wins championships, I know that's an old coach's saying, but I believe that. You have to be strong defensively. You obviously have to have good attacking players. I'll meet with the science staff, I mean, I'm sure there's going to be a large amount of chances created...But that's not going to help us tonight and it's not going to help in our push to get to the playoffs," he said.
And Schmetzer reiterated his opinion that the draw was practically a loss, referencing the fans who support the team deserving better.
"Nobody likes to lose, that's one of my sayings, don't like to lose and this feels like a loss. The players in there worked too hard, the fans work their jobs, pay money to come into the building and watch this team be successful. So for those people out there, the fans, and for that team in that locker room, I want to make sure that we do as much as we can to help them be successful."