There has been a lot of talk about the Seattle Sounders needing to figure out how to play without their star players during these past couple months. As we finally come to the end of this entirely regretful run, it would be hard to say the Sounders did anything better than "fail." The most recent loss, 1-0 at the hands of a pretty bad Montreal Impact team, was their third straight, sixth in their past seven and seventh in their past nine.
During this run, the Sounders have gone from Supporters' Shield favorites to at least having to consider the possibility that they'll miss the playoffs.
The Impact game offered little in terms of hope. Yes, the team managed to get deep into the game without conceding, again. That's the third time they've gone to the 84th minute without allowing a goal. But it's also the third straight game in which they've considered the winner late.
This time, the culprit was some awful defending on admittedly unfairly given free kick. Zach Scott took responsibility for losing his mark on the goal, but the real culprit of the loss was a complete inability to generate offense. The Sounders really only got two good looks on goal -- a Chad Barrett header early on and a Lamar Neagle header in the second half -- but neither were even put on frame. The Sounders struggled to hold any kind of possession in the first half and never seemed to have any ideas in the final third.
Clint Dempsey should be back next week and maybe even Obafemi Martins is healthy by then. But this soft-portion of the schedule was a complete disaster and the Sounders must figure out some lessons to learn from it.
Seattle Sounders FC 0 - Montreal Impact 1
Saturday, July 25, 2015
Venue: Stade Saputo
Referee: Christopher Penso
Assistants: George Gansner III, Apolinar Mariscal
Fourth Official: Mark Kadlecik
Weather: Cloudy and 75 Degrees
MTL - Laurent Ciman (Marco Donadel) 88'
SEA - Gonzalo Pineda (caution) 84'
MTL - Marco Donadel (caution) 90'
MTL - Jack McInerney (caution) 90'+3'
LINEUPS & STATS
Seattle Sounders FC - Troy Perkins; Tyrone Mears, Chad Marshall, Zach Scott - captain, Leo Gonzalez (Dylan Remick 73'); Osvaldo Alonso, Andy Rose, Erik Friberg (Gonzalo Pineda 78'); Cristian Roldan, Lamar Neagle, Chad Barrett (Darwin Jones 68')
Substitutes not used: Charlie Lyon, Jimmy Ockford, Micheal Azira, Thomàs
Total shots: 3 (3 players tied at 1)
Shots on goal: 0
Fouls: 16 (Alonso/Gonzalez, 3)
Offside: 2 (Barrett/Neagle, 1)
Corner-kicks: 1 (Roldan, 1)
Saves: 5 (Perkins, 5)
Montreal Impact - Evan Bush; Ambroise Oyongo, Victor Cabrera, Laurent Ciman, Donny Toia; Marco Donadel, Calum Mallace (Patrice Bernier 88'), Andres Romero (Maxim Tissot 78'), Ignacio Piatti - captain, Dilly Duka (Jack McInerney 71'); Dominic Oduro
Substitutes not used: Eric Kronberg, Wandrille Lefevre, Nigel Reo-Coker, Anthony Jackson-Hamel
Total shots: 14 (3 players tied at 3)
Shots on goal: 6 (Oduro, 2)
Fouls: 15 (Romero/Donadel, 3)
Offside: 1 (McInerney, 1)
Corner-kicks: 2 (Donadel, 2)
Seattle Sounders FC
On not being able to score in recent matches
"We can't go 270 minutes without scoring a goal, that's just not good enough. We're not even forcing saves from goalkeepers in this stretch. We need to get more in that position."
On not doing enough offensively
"The players have to play better. At the end of the day, we can try all the different formations that we want. In the second half it was better, as we had people facing people up. When you face people up, you got to make plays."
On creating more chances
"It's not that hard getting into the final third. We get to the edge of the final third, but then it's the quality of play. We're playing very reactive instead of anticipating, so we're waiting to see where our midfielders play the ball instead of making runs in advance."
On the team's recent results
"It's hard to put into words because I've never been a part of a Sounders team where everything has gone wrong at one time. We haven't been able to work our way out of it or find some luck to get out of it."
On his implication on the goal
"I've got to really look at myself on that last play. That's my guy and I let him get a yard and he tucked it away. Me personally, I got to do better than that."
On recent results
"On the run we're on, we should be doing better. The squad we've got now should be able to come to Montreal and get at least a point. We've got to demand more from each other and it's not good enough."
On his side's defensive performance
"As a team defensively, we've done really well. Troy has come in and made some fantastic saves in quite a few games now keeping us in. It's just that lack of confidence and that's why we're conceding right at the end of games."
On the team's performance
"The whole team had pretty much a very good game. I thought we played well. In the end if we didn't get the three points tonight, it would've been a difficult night to go to sleep because I thought the team played extremely well. In the final third I think we need to be a little bit quicker with our movement and move the ball around a little bit quicker."
On Seattle's defence
"It was difficult when we didn't get more to the baseline to get crosses. We were getting good spots wide but we has to penetrate a little bit deeper. Marshall and the back four, they tried to make it a little difficult for us. We adjusted some things at half time, but I felt throughout the game we were very patient, we found some good openings, and we pushed the game."
On Laurent Ciman
"Obviously with the ball he's very comfortable, he's a very experienced player and he jumps very well so he's a weapon for us in set pieces. I think the moments that he finds throughout the game, one or two moments in each half, I think it's good, but I also think we have to be very disciplined, because if you get caught in transition like that, we make it more difficult."
On the team's performance
"Like I said before, we knew we were going to take control of this game. We preached about being patient this whole week, and I think that's what we did. They're a great team, we knew we were going to get our chances, it's just unfortunate because it took 80 minutes to get it done, but we got it done and that's what is important right now."
On Laurent Ciman
"He was fantastic, I don't want to praise him too much because his head is going to inflate. I mean he played well today, excellent, I think man of the match to me. He deserves and he deserves to be an all-star too. So much respect for him, he carried us forward today. Everyone has got to step up like that, give individual efforts like that in every game that we play."
On Laurent Ciman attacking a lot
"He's good. We have a big centre back and he does well on headers and he could win them. Plain and simple right there. We have a big guy, and he's going to go for headers, that's about it. He's important. He's a big guy back there. He's a solid defender, and we see it off the field as well."
On the impact in the standings
"It's a great win. We were towards the bottom of the table and now we jumped up into a playoff spot, but we have to keep it going. We got several important games. We got a big game next week and we have to come out strong and we have to prove ourselves."