What's wrong with slumping Sounders FC?
Coach Sigi Schmid blames individual mistakes for recent struggles at home, but team must turn things around Saturday at Chivas USA.
Seattle Times staff reporter
Sounders FC @ Chivas USA, 7:30 p.m., Ch. 5
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What happened to the Sounders?
What happened to the lockdown defense that posted six shutouts in the team's first nine games? What happened to the high-powered offense that seemingly featured more weapons than available positions?
Neither showed up in Wednesday's shocking 2-0 home loss to the Columbus Crew, the latest disappointment in a three-game winless streak.
"If we want to be that team that wins championships ... then these are of the types of games we have to be winning," said midfielder Brad Evans. "We'll sit down and we'll talk about it. If we want to get to the next level, then those kinds of things can't be happening."
It wasn't long ago that the Sounders were arguably the best team in MLS; now they're slumping.
In the past three games — home losses to Real Salt Lake and Columbus, plus a tie in Vancouver — Seattle has taken 40 shots but managed just two goals. Opponents have been much more efficient in their scoring chances, with five goals on 26 shots.
The Sounders have allowed just four shots on goal in the past two games, but all four resulted in goals.
Has there been a trend in the recent struggles?
"Individual mistakes," said coach Sigi Schmid, who has put the onus on himself to get things right. "It's individual mistakes of people just doing the wrong reaction."
Those mistakes cost the Sounders on Wednesday, despite owning strong advantages in shots (21-5), corner kicks (12-1) and possession (61.5 percent).
"It doesn't matter how much possession we have, or how much we dominate that part, or how much possession we have in their end of the field, it's the final quality of what you do," Schmid said.
Seattle can take consolation in how it has responded to adversity in the past. The Sounders are 7-0-2 in all competitions — MLS, U.S. Open Cup and CONCACAF Champions League — following a loss since June.
Facing a road game Saturday at Chivas USA, Seattle is also on a 7-0-2 road unbeaten streak, tied for the second longest in MLS history.
"We're a good team and I think we'll bounce back," said forward/midfielder David Estrada. "It's just a little bit of a slump. Every team goes through this in a season, and it's not something to worry about."
And in this instance, less time between games could be a good thing.
"We don't have a long time to dwell on this loss," said forward Eddie Johnson. "We have a tough game coming up against Chivas USA away and ... we've just got to get right. I'm not too concerned. If we weren't creating chances, then you'd have to be concerned. But we're creating chances, and eventually they'll go in."
• Schmid was asked Thursday if buying hosting rights to next Wednesday's U.S. Open Cup third-round game from Atlanta was good for the tournament. "Yeah, I think it is," the coach said. "It's to our benefit because of just the amount of miles that we travel. We travel so many more miles and play so many more games than other teams do in our league.
"It's obviously to their benefit, as well, because they got something out of the deal in terms of cash or something that's greater than they thought they would do if they hosted the game. That's sort of a win-win situation."
• Backup goalkeeper Andrew Weber remains in the discussion when it comes to starting in place of injured starter Michael Gspurning, according to Schmid. Bryan Meredith has started the past five games, but hasn't recorded a save in the past two. Gspurning (hip) could be ready for a potential U.S. Open Cup game on June 5, but a June 16 MLS game in Montreal might be more likely for his return.
• Defender Adam Johansson (hamstring) isn't expected to be available Saturday.
Joshua Mayers: 206-464-3184 or firstname.lastname@example.org
|The Sounders are winless in their past three games after a sizzling start, and their goals allowed and scored per game tell the story:|