One month ago, life was good. It was still nice and sunny in Seattle. The Seattle Sounders appeared to have a legitimate chance at the Supporters Shield. Since then, it has been all downhill and then some. With their latest, 2-0, loss to FC Dallas, the Sounders are now mired in a four-game losing streak -- the longest losing streak in franchise history.
On paper, of course, it wasn't supposed to play out like this. On paper, the Sounders are one of the better teams in the league. But paper doesn't translate to any sort of results. Execution does, and right now, the Sounders just flat out aren't executing. Sigi Schmid threw out a line-up that was bound to cause some discussion, as goalkeeper Michael Gspurning watched his second consecutive game from the bench and little used Alex Caskey turned into more used Alex Caskey. Obafemi Martins and Eddie Johnson didn't make the trip to Texas, and the lack of their offensive potential continues to haunt the Sounders, who have now been outscored 14-4 since their last win on Sept. 13.
There are plenty of ways for the Sounders to still make the playoffs, and the easiest one will be a win against the LA Galaxy to close out the regular season. The wheels haven't come all the way off yet, but they are one more lug nut on their way. If they do, it will put the Sounders faithful in a spot one month ago only the most pessimistic fans expected to be in.
DAL - Matt Hedges (Michel) 65
DAL - Michel 87
FC Dallas - Chris Seitz, Jair Benitez, Walker Zimmerman, Matt Hedges, Kellyn Acosta, Fabian Castillo, Andrew Jacobson, Peter Luccin (Erick 82), David Ferreira, Jackson (Blas Perez 46), Kenny Cooper (Michel 58).
TOTAL SHOTS: 13 (Andrew Jacobson 3, David Ferreira, Michel Blas Perez 2); SHOTS ON GOAL: 4 (Matt Hedges, Andrew Jacobson,Michel, Bla Perez 1); FOULS: 11 (Jair Benitez, Matt Hedges, Andrew Jacobson, Jackson, Kenny Cooper 2); OFFSIDES: 2 (Kenny Cooper, Blas Perez 1); CORNER KICKS: 3 (Michel 2, David Ferreira 1); SAVES: 3 (Chris Seitz 3).
Seattle Sounders FC - Marcus Hahnemann, DeAndre Yedlin, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Patrick Ianni, Leo Gonzalez, Mauro Rosales (Eriq Zavaleta 80), Brad Evans, Adam Moffat (Andy Rose 80), Alex Caskey, Lamar Neagle (David Estrada 69), Clint Dempsey.
TOTAL SHOTS: 15 (Brad Evans 6, Brad Evans 4, Lamar Neagle 2); OFFSIDES: 4 (Lamar Neagle 2); CORNER KICKS: 1 (Mauro Rosales 1); SAVES: 2 (Marcus Hahnemann 2).
DAL - Peter Luccin (caution) 15
DAL - Andrew Jacobson (caution) 77
DAL - Michel (caution) 88
Referee: Ismail Elfath
Referee's Assistants: Corey Rockwell, Eric Proctor
4th Official: Sorin Stoica
Time of Game: 1:52
Weather: Sunny, 57 degrees
FC Dallas head coach Schellas Hyndman
Overall thoughts on the game...
Yesterday was a difficult day for the club, for our owners, for our players and for my family. We hoped that the players would do well today and have a good match. We hoped they would win, for all the people I just mentioned, and our fans. The last week has been difficult, but it was a great ending for my career here at FC Dallas. It couldn't be any better. (We got a) shutout. The guys played with urgency. They played with character. The game was pretty much very conservative by both teams early. We were emotional going out, but with emotion, you can only carry it for so long. It's hard to keep an emotional attitude for 90 minutes. Second half we made some adjustments, obviously bringing Blas (Perez) on and then the subs that we brought in made a difference. We were able to reach the goal that we wanted to get, which was a victory on our last game at home.
On Chris Seitz...
We all love Chris - we know what a great person he is from what he did last year. He received the MLS Humanitarian of the Year Award . That just says what a good person he is and what a good family he comes from. I can't be any happier for him to play his last game of the season at home, playing well. He is a great guy and a wonderful representative of FC Dallas.
FC Dallas midfielder David Ferreira
On getting a win for Schellas Hyndman in his final home game...
I feel tremendous happiness as a player, to be able to send Schellas off with a win. The five years that I have spent playing for Schellas was an opportunity for me to come to MLS and to come to Dallas. I have enjoyed the experience and I owe everything to Schellas because he is the one that opened the door for me. It was an honor for me to be able to play for him.
What are you going to remember most about playing for Schellas?
I am going to remember the person he was. He is more than a coach. He is a great person. He always treated everyone with respect. He has a great heart. He instilled trust and confidence in all the players. I will always be thankful for the opportunity he gave me. In all that he does in the future, I hope he has great success.
FC Dallas defender Walker Zimmerman
General thoughts on the game...
It was a great win for us. Obviously it's been a while since we've gotten a good result. With the atmosphere around here for Schellas' last game, we wanted play as hard as we could for him and as hard as we could for each other. We did that. It was a great... A great win for us and the fans.
On winning at this point in the season...
It's a little disappointing that we can't make a playoff push here, but I think it says a lot about our character - which we've had all year. Whether the result was a win or a loss, we always gave it our all. We did that again today and the result went our way.
On returning to the starting 11...
It's been good. The past few months I've been dealing with a few issues on the injury side. It felt great to get back out there with my teammates and give everything I had for coach's last game and give everything I can to our fans for the last home game.
FC Dallas defender Matt Hedges
On the goal...
We got the foul, and [Patrick] Ianni hadn't really marked me that tightly the entire game, so I figured I could win the header. Michel put in a ball that was high enough up that I was basically the only one who could get up high enough to get it. I just sort of redirected it toward the back past, and it went in.
On Playing in Schellas's last game at Toyota Stadium...
It's bittersweet. Schellas is the man who drafted me and gave me a chance in the league. He's just been a great coach for me. He's taught me a lot and given me a great experience.
On playing against Seattle...
You look at [Clint] Dempsey - like the big names - you see them one time time in the beginning of the match and say, ‘Oh it's cool. It's Clint Dempsey.' But the rest of the time it's a game, and you're trying to not let anyone score no matter who it is. So, it's nice to get a shutout against Seattle with Dempsey being on the field, but any shutout is good for us.
Head Coach Sigi Schmid
General thoughts on the match...
It rests on my shoulders that we haven't been able to come up with combinations that work for us. We've had some chances but haven't been able to convert those chances. Guys are trying, they're fighting and battling. The combinations on the field just haven't been able to produce the goals that we wanted and needed at this point. The guys are obviously disappointed. Sometimes maybe the pass is off a little bit, at the wrong time, the wrong place. Right now we seem to be pressing a little bit and that's my responsibility.
On Clint Dempsey...
Clint battled but is he at 100 percent with his shoulder right now? No. Then he took a knock that one time in the box. When you fall on it and the pain is there. You're aware of it.
Sounders FC forward Clint Dempsey
General thoughts on today's match...
It felt good to be playing back in Texas again. There's been a lot of "stop-start." I've been with the national team, then having an injury, being out for three games here, then with the national team. It's hard to catch your rhythm. But if we can get the right result in the last game, we can make the playoffs and keep competing.
On being back in his home state of Texas...
It's always good to come back to Texas, whether it's Houston, whether it's Dallas. I grew up playing in Dallas but I also played games in Houston. It's good to come back. I get to see my family when I'm here. Playing with the Dallas Longhorns and the Dallas Texans allowed me to go to college and allowed me to be a professional.
On the Sounders FC recent struggles...
Every team has its ups and downs. You've just got to keep fighting and keep grinding. The stronger you are, the farther you'll go. Hopefully we can turn things around, get the right result in the final game and make the playoffs. It takes one game to be back on track. It takes one game to make a big mistake and fall off. It doesn't take much in this game for things to go up and down.
On how he felt personally...
I'm still working on my fitness. A large part of my game is holding people off. I'm not the fastest on the field so I use my strength to get into good positions and body players and get space for myself. Not being able to use my left arm is impacting that.
Sounders FC midfielder Brad Evans
General thoughts on the match...
The fight and desire is always there. It's just execution at the front and the back. We had two good chances to make it 1-1 or 2-1, if that chip goes in. It's just the little things. We give up a set piece goal, something we talked about, and it slides in past the post and that's kind of been the name of the game for us the last few weeks. Now we get a couple of days off to regroup and we've just got to fight like hell next weekend.
On Clint Dempsey...
It is difficult to come in and be a contributor right away. No matter who you are. He's done a good job. Today he was man-marked. Whenever he touched the ball he had no room to breathe. And that's how we approach it too. It happens with the good players in the league, international level players, [the opponent would] rather have another guy with the ball than Clint with the ball. So it's going to be an adjustment period but we're close. We've just got to keep plugging away.
On what corrections need to be made...
It's about getting everybody on the field at the same time. Maybe next week is the perfect storm. Maybe it happens next Sunday and we get everybody healthy, get the result we need and we take off in the playoffs.