The road trip from hell turned out to be a killer. After starting out in the best way possible by winning their fourth U.S. Open Cup in six years, the Seattle Sounders completed it with a pair of losses. The second one came on Wednesday, as the Sounders fell 3-1 to FC Dallas on Wednesday.
The match set up reasonably well. The Sounders were able to rest several starters in their match against the New York Red Bulls, Dallas was down a couple key starters and the temperature was a reasonably mild 82 degrees at kick off.
But that didn't stop Dallas from jumping on the Sounders early and grabbing the opener on an 8th minute strike from David Texeira, who jumped all over a quirky bounce that seemed to fool Chad Marshall. Texeira's uncontested shot from about 10 yards out easily beat Stefan Frei to the far post. The worst development of the first half, though, may have been Zach Scott going down with what looked to be a knee injury in the 36th minute. That it came in his 300th career Sounders match only served to underscore just how poorly timed it was.
The Sounders eventually found their feet and were the better team for most of the final 30 minutes of the first half and had several good scoring chances go wanting. That continued into the second half until Lamar Neagle did his best Lamar Neagle impression from a couple weeks ago, absolutely crushing a shot from about 35 yards out that knuckled and dipped past Raul Fernandez. For all the world, it looked like the Sounders were the team that would find the winner, creating multiple chances and pressing Dallas into numerous turnovers.
Of course, it was Dallas that got the next goal. Andres Escobar worked himself free in the penalty area, sent in a cross that deflected off a sliding Djimi Traore and found Texeira all alone in front of goal. About 10 minutes later, Blas Perez got free on a corner kick and managed to put his header through Frei's hands to give Dallas a 3-1 lead in the 88th minute.
The result leaves the Sounders limping home from a road trip that started about 10 days ago with the two league matches resulting a 7-2 scoreline going the wrong direction. The Sounders now head into the final five games of the season tied on points with the LA Galaxy (but holding a 17-15 wins advantage). It was hardly a disastrous run -- they did win a cup after all and both losses were games in which they were not favored -- but it's now a straight sprint for the finish line. Let's hope the Sounders have a final push in them.