I can sum up this match in 3 gifs.
18 seconds in:
Okay. Now that I have that out of my system….
Sometimes soccer teams forget how to play soccer, and that’s exactly what the Sounders did Saturday night against San Jose. In a match that started at a historically fast pace, the Sounders failed to play the rest of match well, and dropped all 3 points at home. Usually there are aspects of a match, no matter how terrible it is, that are encouraging. This match was different. The Sounders defended poorly, passed poorly, and shot poorly. Even with Seattle playing so poorly, San Jose gave them every opportunity to get back into the game, but the Sounders could not capitalize.
Fingers can be pointed in a lot of different directions. Some of those directions are warranted, some of them are not. A lot of criticism falls on the shoulders of the Sounders captain, Brad Evans, and rightfully so. The 3 San Jose goals came from 3 critical mistakes by Evans, who was only playing his 2nd game at center back. Many fans will be calling for the Evans Experiment to end, but Sigi Schmid isn’t the type of manager to have such a knee jerk reaction. He’ll use this as a teaching point for Evans, I assume. During the preseason, Schmid said that he wanted to give Evans “6 to 8 matches” at center back to evaluate his ability in that position.
Even though a loss like this is terrible, the Sounders usually respond well after these types of game. After being slaughtered by New England last May, the Sounders responded by going 9-1-1 in all competitions. This team is full of veterans who aren’t afraid to own the blame, and they should respond just fine. It’s a long season, and a loss like this won’t mean much. After all, Seattle lost to Columbus & Toronto in back to back home games last season, and things ended up being just fine. Aside from Brad Evans’ mistakes, which I fully expect to be corrected (either by him, or by a new signing), there was nothing from this last match that should have any lasting concern. If you’re in need of a silver lining to get you through the next two weeks (The Sounders have an MLS bye next weekend, and a friendly against Tijuana), by the time the Sounders face off against Dallas on March 28th, Osvaldo Alonso should be completely healed from his injury.
(Photo: Tony Overman)