Most of us would have taken a tie at the half. After Steve Zakuani's goal in the 59th minute, I think we fully expected to win. To come away with zero -- especially in the fashion that it happened -- should raise some concerns.
The Sounders came out strong in the second half and were dictating play, culminating with Zakuani's beautiful strike to the far post. The defense wasn't its usual shutdown self, but it appeared as if they were going to do enough to salvage some points.
That all changed a few minutes after Zakuani's goal.
Patrick Ianni and Shalrie Joseph tangled on a corner kick. Ianni may have stomped on Joseph's foot. Joseph clearly slapped Ianni, who probably erred in overselling the swipe. Either way, it was all right in front of referee Silviu Petrescu, who decided not to issue any cards. That decision was made all the more dubious when Fredy Montero was yellow-carded for what appeared to be a fairly innocent shove at 65'.
Petrescu had obviously lost control of the match. The Sounders soon lost their grip on some valuable road points.
A miraculous save on a Chris Tierney attempt on the near post at 69' kept the Sounders ahead.
Tierney did not miss when given a second chance. He got behind Osvaldo Alonso's mark on a throw-in to equalize at 70'. Marko Perovic gave the Revolution their first lead of the match at 73' and Kehli Dube scored the dagger at 81'.
In a relative blink of the eye, the Sounders suddenly reverted to form we hadn't seen since July 4. Oddly enough, this was the fourth straight loss in which the Sounders have allowed three goals, but it was the first time they had allowed more than one in a match since that fateful game in Los Angeles.
This match should serve as a reminder that nothing is guaranteed. As good as the Sounders have been, they are obviously capable of lapses. Many of the bad habits we saw during that 10-game drought reared their ugly head tonight. The Sounders only got three shots on target; had mental lapses on dead-ball situations; and appeared to become too focused on the referee.
In and of itself, the loss is not the end of the world. If results hold, the Sounders will wake up tomorrow morning still in playoff position. They will still be five points clear of No. 9 Toronto in overall points and .14 ahead of No. 9 Chicago in PPM.
What this loss does is take that much of the Sounders' cushion away. This was really a match the from which the Sounders should have expected to take at least a point and increases the press ure of getting three points from Real Salt Lake on Thursday. It also makes those road matches at Columbus, at Chicago and at Kansas City much less easier to write off.
Hopefully, this was not a sign the schedule is starting to get to the Sounders. It really doesn't get easier anytime soon, as they'll be traveling more than 18,000 miles and take something like 12 plane trips in next few weeks.
The Sounders can render all of this moot by beating the reigning MLS Cup champions at home on Thursday. Another loss, though, and any confidence built from that seven-match unbeaten streak will be all but gone.
Stats and quotes after the jump.
Goals by Period 1 2 Tot 0 1 1 New England 0 3 3
Goals by Period
SEA - Zakuani (Riley, Fernandez) 59
NE - Tierney (Joseph, Alston) 70
NE - Perovic 73
NE - Dube (Stolica, Perovic) 81
New England Revolution - Matt Reis, Kevin Alston, Emmanuel Osei, Darrius Barnes, Seth Sinovic, Kheli Dube, Pat Phelan, Shalrie Joseph, Chris Tierney, Ilija Stolica (Zack Schilawski 82), Marko Perovic.
SEA - Fredy Montero (caution; Reckless Tackle) 66
NE - Marko Perovic (caution; Reckless Tackle) 85
Referee: Silviu Petrescu
Referee's Assistants: -Corey E. Rockwell; Gregory Barkey
4th Official: Landis Wiley
Time of Game: 1:50
Weather: Clear and 73 degrees
Sigi Schmid – Sounders FC Head Coach
(On the match . . .) “I thought we were OK until we’re up 1-0 and the altercation occurred between Shalrie [Joseph] and Patrick Ianni. At that point, I thought we lost our composure a little bit and gave away a couple of goals that we shouldn’t have given away. Obviously the game turned and they scored their chances and the game was over.”
(On the defense . . .) “We haven’t made mistakes back there in a while. We’ve been pretty solid and I don’t think we defended the throw-in well. We had just cleared one off the line right before. Nobody took charge of it and figured out that they were going to do the same thing again, so that was bad. The second goal, I really can’t say anything about it in terms of that it was one of those plays – bang, bang and actually our player [Osvaldo] Alonso tipped it through to them. The third goal was a bad clearance by [Patrick] Ianni.”
(On allowing three goals . . .) “I’m not happy about it, but on the same token we have players that are constantly learning and we have young players. I’ve seen guys make multi-million dollars at Juventus and watch a ball bounce inside the 18 and the other team scores a goal. So to say it’s something that should never, ever happen [ . . .] unfortunately it happens. A lot of goals are scored off of mistakes and we made some.”
Steve Zakuani – Sounders FC Midfielder
(On the match . . .) “I think that was probably the turning point with Shalrie [Joseph] and Patrick [Ianni]. There was like a five, six minute delay and we just scored and after that, I think we maybe – as our coach told us – lost our composure a little bit. We tried to get it back but they just really built off that. They scored the first goal and then the second one came just a bit fortuitous for them. As much as I said that we lost our composure there, we were pretty disappointed.”
(On the loss . . .) “Despite some of the things that went against us, I think that when you’re up 1-0 on the road after you’ve been playing, usually we’re very solid team defensively. Today I think we had a few lapses and it’s just a case of we let them carry too much momentum. You could just see their spirit and confidence building and we didn’t respond to that. It got to the point where we were just chasing the game later on and they’re just a big physical team. They’re going to just keep the ball away. We’ve been winning, haven’t lost in a long time but now we’re going to see what we’re made of. How do we respond from there?”
Mike Fucito – Sounders FC Forward
(On playing in front of his family and friends . . .) “It felt great. This was my first game back, too, after my knee surgery. I wish it were a different result, but it feels good to come back and have my family and friends come out. It’s been a while.”
(On the result . . .) “I think it’s frustrating, especially going up 1-0. I think it’s a game that we should win, so it’s definitely frustrating. We were on a little bit of a roll, too, so we wanted to keep that going.”
(On his plan entering the game in the 82nd minute . . .) “Just push forward and try to get a goal. At that point, we were two goals down, so just try to push and try for a goal.
Kasey Keller – Sounders FC Goalkeeper
(On conceding three goals . . .) “That was probably the worst 10 minutes we’ve played all year. There’s really not much to say about. Hopefully that’s the last of it and it can’t happen again if we want to continue on. We just want to get this out and learn from it and if we don’t learn from it, I’m sure there will be some changes. It’s up to us to put it right on Thursday.”
(On the goals . . .) “The first goal was just a long throw that was flicked to the post. [Osvaldo Alonso] was stuck with two guys at the back post. I thought from different times during the game, we didn’t stick with our runners at the far post and they had multiple opportunities at the back post after a flick or a ball that went all the way through. We never figured it out and we eventually got punished for it.”
(On the second goal . . .) “It just ping-ponged around inside there and ended up to them in a great position to tap-in. But still, I think we were a little flat-footed. We had guys who were there. There was no reason that the ball should have gotten through or the man should have gotten through. I don’t mind the ball; the ball can get through all it wants. We’ve got to stay with the runners. I don’t know what happened. We uncharacteristically just absolutely fell apart after we scored our goal.”
(On the game . . .) “For 65 minutes, I felt like we were going to win the game. And then for some reason, after they scored they picked up the pace and we melted, which is just not like us.”
Steve Nicol – Revolution Head Coach
(On the win . . .) “I think it speaks for itself after the week we’ve had. We basically got robbed the three points last weekend. We were real unfortunate on Wednesday in the [SuperLiga] final. But to come back from those two games – the third game in eight days – and go about it the way we did I think says all we need to know about the players and their attitude and the commitment and how they stick together. It was fantastic.”
(On getting three goals after going down a goal . . .) “We felt we were pushing it, which we wanted to do. We had some chances and couldn’t take them and obviously going one behind was disappointing to say the least. But the players just kept pushing and we got three goals in the end. But we deserved to win. No doubt about it.”
(On if the dust-up between Patrick Ianni and Shalrie Joseph invigorated the team . . .) “I think we were pushing anyway. The whole thing has come out and is happening anyway because we were pushing the envelope and putting pressure on them. It’s always good to see the guys sticking together, but I think we were pushing them anyway. And we just continued to do that.”
(On Kheli Dube’s performance at right wing . . .) “First time he’s played there for us is Wednesday. He obviously learned a lot and picked up some good positions tonight to start it going forward and get the ball and go forward himself. It’s a great goal.”
(On Chris Tierney getting his first career goal . . .) “We did say he was “unlucky” with the first one.”
Chris Tierney – Revolution Midfielder
(On the match . . .) “It’s just a matter of getting the ball in the net, simple as that. We had a couple of decent chances in the first half, I thought. We played some good stuff tonight. We just - the story of the season - we just couldn’t, that last ball was just missing a little bit. We knew that if we just stuck to it, with the way we were playing tonight creating chances, we were going to score goals eventually.”
(On impact of Shalrie Joseph and Patrick Ianni incident . . .) “It lifted us a little bit, if anything. Shalrie [Joseph] doesn’t go down easy, so you know something went down. I think that they thought that after they got that goal, they were going to, if they could mix it up a little bit, it would take our minds off of trying to get the ball in the net, which it didn’t. We stuck to it and played hard and got goals.”
(On first career goal . . .) “I don’t really measure my game by goals to be honest. It’s always good to get on the score sheet and I’m happy to get the first one. Now I get that zero off the stat sheet. It’s just about the performance tonight. All around we were pretty good tonight and we deserved to win.”
Kheli Dube – Revolution Midfielder
(On his goal . . .) “It feels good when you score a goal and today was the day I felt that I would score a goal. When I got the chance I made sure it was a goal. It was good to get a goal. It’s been a long time now. Playing on the right side, I think I’m getting used to it.
(On being down 1-0 in the second half . . .) “When you fall, you get frustrated. But you’ve got to keep going, trying to make sure that when you get the chance, you score a goal. And in the second half, we created a lot more chances and converted the chances.”
(On describing his goal . . .) “The ball came from a defender and when I got the ball, I realized Ilija [Stolica] was up there. And Ilija is a big guy, so I played one-two with him and he set me up good.”