"Sometimes you eat the bar and sometimes... well, he eats you." - The Big Lebowski
I'm not entirely sure what that quote means, but somehow it feels appropriate after a game like Sunday's 4-0 loss to the LA Galaxy. I suppose the Sounders had been on a bar-consuming binge for the past few weeks, winning three straight, going unbeaten and six and scoring goals at an alarming rate. This seemed like the perfect time to face the Galaxy, a team that had lost three of its last four games.
Instead, the Sounders turned it what has to be the worst half of soccer they've ever played and found themselves down 4-0 before the match was even 45 minutes old. It was a minor miracle that it never got worse than that, and the second half just seemed like a lot of biding of time until Robbie Rogers made history.
I suppose that's the good part of the game, too. History will likely remember this as the game that Rogers became the first openly gay male athlete to play in a professional American league (let's just agree to call it that, OK?) and not as a truly awful performance by the Sounders.
What happened, exactly, is anyone's guess. One way or the other, though, nothing went right. As Sigi himself said, no one had a good game and no one is free from blame. This was a completely listless performance that is probably better forgotten than analyzed. These were not the same players that ran through the Earthquakes and FC Dallas like warm butter and we can only hope that whoever kidnapped those guys gives them back soon.
LA - Sean Franklin (Robbie Keane, Marcelo Sarvas) 12'
LA - Robbie Keane 24'
LA - Robbie Keane (PK) 34'
LA - Robbie Keane (PK) 44'
Seattle Sounders FC - Michael Gspurning, DeAndre Yedlin, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Djimi Traore, Leo Gonzalez, Mauro Rosales (Lamar Neagle 65), Servando Carrasco (David Estrada 65), Shalrie Joseph, Brad Evans, Obafemi Martins, Eddie Johnson (Mario Martinez 75).
Substitutes Not Used: Marcus Hahnemann, Marc Burch, Zach Scott, Alex Caskey.
TOTAL SHOTS: 2 (Traore 2); SHOTS ON GOAL: 0; FOULS: 11 (Joseph 3); OFFSIDE: 6 (Johnson 5); CORNER KICKS: 2 (Carrasco, Rosales 1); SAVES: 2 (Gspurning 2).
LA Galaxy - Carlo Cudicini, Sean Franklin, Omar Gonzalez, A.J. DeLaGarza, Greg Cochrane, Michael Stevens, Juninho (Robbie Rogers 77), Marcelo Sarvas, Landon Donovan, Gyasi Zardes (Hector Jiminez 83), Robbie Keane (Jose Villareal 73).
Substitutes Not Used: Brian Rowe, Leonardo, Rafael Garcia, Charlie Rugg.
TOTAL SHOTS: 15 (Keane 4); SHOTS ON GOAL: 6 (Keane 4); FOULS: 10 (Sarvas 5); OFFSIDE: 1 (Zardes 1); CORNER KICKS: 11 (Donovan 11); SAVES: 0.
LA - Gyasi Zardes (caution) 40'
SEA - Brad Evans (caution) 42'
SEA - Eddie Johnson (caution) 66'
LA - Omar Gonzalez (caution) 70'
SEA - Shalrie Joseph (ejection) 87'
Referee: Baldomero Toledo
Referee's Assistants: Ian Anderson, Baboucarr Jallow
4th Official: Alejandro Mariscal
Time of Game: 1:52
Weather: Partly cloudy and 70-degrees
All statistics contained in this boxscore are unofficial
Seattle Sounders FC Head Coach Sigi Schmid
On the Sounders' performance:
"Our passing was more negative and back, we tried to dump too many long balls instead of playing over the wings a little bit more. We never forced them to defend for periods of time so we were constantly on our heels."
On evaluating a loss like this:
"When you beat San Jose 4-0 that's not going to say you're going to win every game 4-0 and when you lose here 4-0 that's not going to say you're going to lose every game 4-0. You have to evaluate a body of work; you can't react to an individual game or individual 10 minutes or a half or whatever. There's got to be some accountability and we'll address that."
On the penalties:
"I didn't think the first one was a penalty, I thought it was a good tackle by Djimi Traore. I thought the second one was a penalty, but I didn't think the first one was."
On Robbie Rogers' return
"It's great. I talked to Robbie briefly before the game and it's great that he's back. I'm happy he's back and we allowed it to be a nice night for him as we played poorly."
Seattle Sounders FC Goalkeeper Michael Gspurning
On losing 4-0:
It's absolutely not up to our standard and we have to sit together and talk about this one. It's important we stay together and sometimes instead of pointing fingers we as a team need to join together and figure it out."
On how they bounce back from this loss:
"For us, the next game can't be soon enough. I think most of the guys would want to play tomorrow because that's the only way you can make changes for the future."
On the penalty kicks:
"On the first one I felt good. The first one we were still in the game because I made the save. Then of course on the second one, that leaves the thoughts of ‘What is he doing? Is he changing direction? There was nothing I could do on the second one. It's just unfortunate that he can retake the penalty."
Seattle Sounders FC Midfielder Mauro Rosales
On the game:
"It wasn't our best game. From our form to our rhythm that we've had from past games, we did not have it today. Today the first half was really a disaster. We have to move forward. It's tough to solve but the team has enough experience to step up in the next few games. "
On how the team overcomes this game:
"We have to forget about what we did tonight. Tonight, we did everything wrong. When we had the good rhythm of games, we were in rhythm and this is how we have to play. Not today, not in the first half and not in the second half did we control the game but at least in the second we did it more together as a group. We faced the second half with a different mentality and we needed this mentality in the first half before the goals."
LA Galaxy Head Coach Bruce Arena
On tonight's win:
"I thought our start to the game was real good. The guys had a real positive about getting out there tonight. I think this year, for large parts of the year, we have played pretty well just have been a little bit inconsistent, a little bit unlucky at times. I think at least tonight we rewarded ourselves and got the result we disserved."
On Robbie Rogers making his Galaxy debut:
"What it means, and all those other aspects, I'll let others comment on. In terms of a player he can't be judged tonight, he can't be judged in the next couple of weeks. Down the road he could be judged as a player, it's way too early. We're just fortunate that the game played out the way it did and there was an opportunity to get him on the field. But he has a way to go and it's going to take some time and we'll be patient with him. ... I think that's just (as) important to get it past all of us, and now he can go about the business of being a player and moving himself forward because it's going to take some time."
On how Rogers handled the moment:
"I think he did well. I thought he did well with all the lead up to this and what more can you say."
On what the plan is for Rogers going forward:
"He just has to start training on a daily basis and being involved as much as he can in games. We have an Open Cup game Wednesday that he can be involve and continue to move forward with league matches and training. In a lot of ways the easy part is over, now the difficult part remains and that's getting him positioned to play and that's going to take some time. Our expectations for Robbie are not anything big in the near future, it's just going to take time. The plan is just to move him along and see how he progresses and hopefully he can get back to where we thank he can be as a player."
On Robbie Keane's hat trick:
"The first one was a big goal. It got us to 2-0. There was a little chaos over the penalty kicks, and I didn't see that, but Robbie had a good game and we were happy to get him off the field. Of course he will be traveling to London tomorrow, I believe, but he did his job and got us three goals tonight."
On Gyasi Zardes' first career start:
"I thought he played well he was dangerous and was a handful for the Seattle backline for the 80 some odd minutes he played. I think it was a good performance. He is going to get better as we move forward he is still relatively young and we anticipate that he is going to continue to improve as a player."
LA Galaxy Midfielder Robbie Rogers:
On making his Galaxy debut:
"Earlier today I was a bit nervous. I don't know why. I just had two like hours before I actually left my apartment and I was like, "Oh gosh." But once I got to the stadium it felt totally normal. The guys made it really easy, they played so well tonight, first half especially. So it made my experience very enjoyable, no pressure at all coming on obviously and just got to enjoy myself and take it all in."
On what went through his mind as he entered the game:
"If you were to see my face I just had a huge smile of enjoyment, of, "this is OK, I'm back, this is normal." This was great, very supportive. I keep saying the word normal but it was. And once I got on, and obviously (got) the support, I just kind of zoned in and was hoping to maybe get a goal or something. So, it's just good to be back and I'm excited to move on from here."
On how he felt out on the field:
"I was happy to get a few touches. I thought my running felt pretty good, I felt like I hadn't lost too much speed. But again, it was, you know, 4-0 and I think Seattle today wasn't at its best and I'm sure (Seattle Sounders FC Head Coach) Sigi (Schmid) will say the same. It was just good to be back so that I can get my feet wet."
On the day overall:
"It was perfect. It was really perfect. We won, which was the most important. My family was here, my friends, my grandparents who live in Palos Verdes. I think the first training session the Galaxy ever had on The Home Depot Center pitch I think I was here training with the Galaxy because Sigi was coach so I've kind of been on this huge journey to figure out my life and now I'm back here, I think, kind of where I'm supposed to be."
On what's next:
"It's back to the grind of finding way to be successful and kind of getting that edge above other athletes."
LA Galaxy Forward Robbie Keane
On the victory:
"From the first minute of the game I thought we set the tone that ‘get in their faces' and ‘don't give them a second on the ball' and that stopped them from playing. It worked obviously in our favor because every time we got the ball we moved it quickly and kept sneaking balls off of them and made it very, very difficult for them. In the first half I thought we played very, very well."
On scoring his first hat trick in MLS:
"It's obviously always nice to score. One, two, three or four, it really doesn't matter. As a striker, ultimately, you are judged on scoring goals, so of course it's great to score the hat trick but the most important thing is getting the three points and bouncing back after the defeat last week against Red Bulls, which we certainly didn't deserve to lose."
On Robbie Rogers:
"He got a great reception from the fans. I'm sure he's delighted to get that off his back now and now maybe, after this press conference, he can concentrate on just being totally part of the team and being a Galaxy player and none of this nonsense that comes along with it. So I'm sure after this it will be all over and he can just concentrate now on being a Galaxy player."
LA Galaxy Forward Landon Donovan
On the first half performance:
"I think our start was really good, not just the goals but the energy. The way we pressed, the aggressive nature we played with. We made tackles, we passed the ball well, we got a lot of chances and then when we had the chance to score we scored. It was as well as we've played all year."
On what Robbie Rogers brings to the team:
"Once he's fully fit he's a true wide player that we haven't had in a long time and I know Bruce has been searching for a player like that. On one hand, we lose one of our most influential players, which is tough, but we're getting a guy who's been very effective in this league and we're really excited to have him."
On what the team takes from Rogers' courage to return:
"I think every person will take something from it individually. For me, it's inspiring in that it's OK to be who we are. We all have differences, we all have things were going through and for him to accept who he is and be proud of who he is I think inspires all of us, both as athletes and as people."
On when people will focus on Rogers' soccer life over his personal life:
"I think eventually we'll get to that point and that's the hope. But for now, because of the nature of the way sports have been for so many years, the macho-culture that's been embraced by everybody, it's of interest to everybody. So now, for us, hopefully the hype of it is over and for him too. We can just get back to getting comfortable which is what he wants to do."