The simple way to lay blame for the 2-nil loss at Real Salt Lake would be to blame the referee. But that would assume that Seattle Sounders FC played a match that could have won with even calls. They did not. Sure, the foul that earned the penalty was a textbook ball-to-hand incident. Does that change that the second goal involved Seattle defenders starstruck by a ball hitting the crossbar and failing to recognize that the ball was still live? Nope.
This match was not dark comedy. Sloppy passing early and a shift to punt-and-pray ended the Sounders hopes by half.
Salt Lake went up one goal from the spot. Jamie Morales nailed that PK in the 12th. In the 19th Sebastián Jaime headed in a rebound. That two-nil score held throughout the match.
Sigi Schmid started 10 of the 11 that thumped Orlando. As good as they looked against the marginal Eastern Conference playoff team they looked that bad against one of the West's worst. Aaron Kovar's start will not be remembered. It was not good, and while probably poor should not be the focus of this loss.
The amount of players that struggled needs two hands. Martins played one of his worst matches as a Sounder. Torres' handball was a bad call, but it was through actions which permitted the call.
Only Nelson Haedo Valdez looked capable of changing the result. On the road, in a league that allows him to be targeted with six fouls suffered and four "final warnings" for Mulholland that would not happen.
The Dire Days are done. That does not mean that Sounders are Shield or even Cup favorites. There is hard work left to do. Now tied with the Earthquakes for 6th in the West Seattle barely sits above the red line.
All of this and the zipper on my shorts broke.