Four losses in a row is a devastating fact. Seattle Sounders FC went from Supporters' Shield and MLS Cup favorite to possible attendee in the Playoffs. They lost to a great team on the road, but the rest of those three are merely teams that play in the league.
Saturday's downfall came about due to a long time weakness of the club - set-plays. Mix in a lineup that was surprising in that it continued the benching of Michael Gspuring and continued to include the little used Alex Caskey. While the second goal was not on Marcus Hahnemann the first must have some blame on the man who has been a Sounder from his first moment as a pro.
Sigi Schmid's dedication to a target and withdrawn man was rather clear has Lamar Neagle played high in the loss. He wasn't good there and got hammered through all the contact reducing his effectiveness as the match continued.
Similar to three of these four losses this one came to a team that was willing to sit back and pick out its attacks. Like Colorado and Vancouver Dallas took advantage of Seattle's aggression. FC Dallas used those moments to get behind Sounders FC and create their rare chances.
Like many of Seattle's wins, and of course their losses, they over-passed in dangerous ares and failed to convert. Despite creating more chances, taking more shots, being the better passer (in all portions of the pitch) and winning possession the club continued its losing ways.
Those numbers that normally indicate victory have existed through most of the losing streak. It didn't matter.
Instead a team with Dempsey, Martins, Johnson and the once hot Neagle has trouble scoring. Shutout in back-to-back matches the injuries are taking their toll, but so is the failure to adapt to circumstance and opportunity. Seattle is not eliminated from the Playoffs.
But they are no longer favorites for any trophy. It will take a combination of available talent actually performing, the supporting squad helping them and a coaching staff adapting to talent and circumstances to win the MLS Cup. Right now there is no reason for joy except as compared to half the league.
That is not the standard here in Seattle.
Losses are acceptable. Franchise record losing streaks are not.