Remember the awesome feeling of beating a Mexican team in CONCACAF Champions League? Or the four-nil and four-two wins in May? Those awesome feelings are gone. Seattle Sounders FC fall again on the road to Real Salt Lake for the second time this year. For the third time this year they were not just beaten, but played poorly. The harsh reality is that with rest the Sounders are not as good as they are when they play on short rest. There is also a reality that Alonso is quite important to success; that forcing three forwards to play at once does not work and life at elevation is hard.
For a team that is quite good over it's short life these matches are particularly harsh. Real Salt Lake and the LA Galaxy are the measuring sticks. In those games Sigi Schmid and his Rave Green crew are getting outplayed. While Seattle has not fallen out of the Playoff race, that is not the standard.
When the US National Team came to Seattle the measuring stick was Seattle. In some ways they've set the bar in MLS play that high as well. Only a new trophy is success. The playoffs mean nothing. And so matches against those that have trophies must go well. They have not.
Lamar Neagle proved that he was a forward that was at least good enough. Sigi got him on the field, but as a wide mid things did not go well. Eddie Johnson and Neagle switched up quite a bit and that meant that neither were in a role where they have succeeded in MLS. Obafemi Martins was on an island. Those were just the issues up top.
In the midfield possession was not maintained, it was not won. It was not pretty. Servando Carrasco and Brad Evans are both more than adequate in the center of midfield. Together they are not. So the team by passed that midfield. Long passes out of the back were by necessity and could not reach their targets in attack.
If there was a bright side it would be the defense. They gave up two goals and were the best part of the team.
Games in hand hold hope. Performances against LA and RSL show that games in hand only matter if the squad and coaches take advantage of the opportunity.
A game happened and it was not pretty. There was little enough to highlight as successes with strategy, execution and play all going wrong. Both goals against were on rebounds, but the dominance of Salt Lake was clear.