Turns out all the Seattle Sounders' problem weren't magically fixed after a couple of good results. While their performance against Real Salt Lake -- a 2-0 loss -- wasn't a total disaster, the Sounders' seemingly revived offense no where to be found.
Defensively, the Sounders weren't awful -- the handball was certainly debatable -- and RSL's other goal was at least partially the result of bad luck.
But even if the Sounders had managed to keep RSL scoreless, nothing suggested they were poised to score many themselves. Román Torres' header was the Sounders' only shot on goal -- and it was not remotely threatening -- and they only managed five total shots. Obafemi Martins managed to look dangerous on a couple occasions, but was never able to sustain much and Nelson Haedo Valdez was pretty well bottled up.
Brad Evans says this is the result that will suddenly make the Sounders "desperate". We can only hope.
MATCH SUMMARY Seattle Sounders FC 0 - Real Salt Lake 2Saturday, August 22, 2015
Venue: Rio Tinto Stadium
Referee: Silviu Petrescu
Assistants: Adam Garner, Mike Rottersman
Fourth Official: Younes Marrakchi
Weather: Clear and 78 degrees
RSL - Javier Morales (penalty) 12'
RSL - Sebastián Jaime 19'
SEA - Erik Friberg (caution) 25'
SEA - Andy Rose (caution) 39'
SEA - Oniel Fisher (caution) 50'
RSL - Olmes Garcia (caution) 83'
RSL - Tony Beltran (caution) 90'+2'
LINEUPS & STATS Seattle Sounders FC - Stefan Frei; Tyrone Mears, Chad Marshall, Román Torres, Oniel Fisher; Andy Rose (Gonzalo Pineda 77'), Brad Evans - captain, Erik Friberg, Aaron Kovar (Lamar Neagle 57'); Nelson Valdez (Thomás 70'), Obafemi Martins
Substitutes not used: Troy Perkins, Dylan Remick, Zach Scott, Cristian Roldan
Total shots: 5 (Valdez/Martins, 2) Shots on goal: 1 (Torres, 1)
Fouls: 10 (Friberg/Valdez, 2)
Offside: 2 (Neagle/Kovar, 1)
Corner-kicks: 4 (Friberg, 2)
Saves: 4 (Frei, 4)
Real Salt Lake - Nick Rimando; Aaron Maund, Demar Phillips, Jámison Olave, Tony Beltran; Javier Morales, Kyle Beckerman, Luke Mulholland, Joao Plata (Olmes Garcia 70'); Luis Silva (Jordan Allen 83'), Sebastián Jaime (Devon Sandoval 87')
Substitutes not used: Jeff Attinella, Elias Vásquez, John Stertzer, Juan Manuel Martinez
Total shots: 13 (Morales, 4) Shots on goal: 6 (Beckerman/Jaime, 2)
Fouls: 15 (Mulholland, 5)
Corner-kicks: 2 (Morales, 2)
Saves: 1 (Rimando, 1)
SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC
Head Coach Sigi Schmid
On his impressions of the game.
"I thought we lost the game in the first 20 minutes. Obviously the goal was a penalty. Like I said I haven't had a chance to see the replay yet. It looked a little harsh. There was no one from Salt Lake there. It wasn't going to run onto any of their players. I don't even know if he was in the box. I thought that was a harsh call. We didn't react well on the second call. They outworked us in the first 20 minutes. We told our team to be prepared for that, that they would come out hard. That's where we lost the game. When you are down 2-0, it's tough to come back against them because they are a good possession team. Maybe if we had gotten Oba's not hitting the post at the end of the first half going in, maybe that makes the difference. But at the end of the day it wasn't good enough."
On his team's response to the loss:
"No it wasn't good enough. If you ask any of our guys I think they will tell you the same thing. I just think tonight our effort wasn't of the standard that we want it to be. Like I said, we lost the game in the first 20 minutes."
On the disappearance of his offense tonight:
"Every game is different. Obviously when you are down 2-0 and they are holding the ball and you're chasing the ball a lot, it makes it harder. We are a team that likes to have possession of the ball as well. We gave away a lot of possession. If you look at the duels won, they won the majority of the duels and that is a big difference in the game."
On his concern of player fatigue:
"That's why we are trying to rest players and almost play two different units. We tried to play a pretty different unit when we played Olimpia. But still there are guys that have to go onto the bench and even though you are not playing, you have to prepare psychologically. It takes a little bit out of you. We are still missing some guys. We are still missing Dempsey, we are still missing Alonso. We are still missing Leo Gonzalez. So there are certainly still guys that have an impact and are good players for this team that are not available right now."
On player availability for the game against Portland:
On a team record 13th regular season loss:
"The guys have to realize that we are fighting for our lives. That's a realization that has to set in. A gambler told me long ago, ‘Never bet against a desperate team.' I think they were more desperate than we were today. We have to get that point of desperation as well. Then you'll see us stand up."
Goalkeeper Stefan Frei
On what he saw of the PK call
"From my side, it does touch his hand. With that being said, it is a difficult one because there is no one around. He has his hands down on the side, the ball bounces and hits him from underneath. It's not like he is redirecting a ball that is going towards one of them so he is not really altering a play in a way. It is what it is."
On coming into this game on a positive note and then losing in the manner they did:
"I think it is difficult because we were in the game. We were giving away two sloppy goals. The first one is a PK. They had a chance to go one on one with me and we kept the ball out of the net. Then about 30 or 40 seconds later we gave up the PK. The second one, same thing. They had a wonder-strike and we were relieved that it didn't go in and we forgot to remark and make sure we were following up. I think we kind of shoot ourselves in the foot there with those two goals. Like I said, otherwise I think we are in this game. When you come to Salt Lake, it is a really tough place to play. You get played off the park. We were in it. We had possession, we had our chances but we have nothing to show for it."
On what Coach Sigi Schmid told them after the game:
"Nothing yet. I think we all know what transpired here and every game is big. Especially in a conference where every team is fighting for their lives. They are in the same boat as us. If we think that those two results we have had in the past week are going to put us in the clear then that is not going to happen. Every weekend we are going to have to be sure we get those points whether it's home or away. It's do or die right now and every point matters."
On San Jose pulling even tonight:
"I tend to not look at the standings because when you have had a run like we have had you should know whereabouts you are. At this point it is do or die. With the quality that we have in our locker room, we have to start getting on a run and then get in to the playoffs first and foremost obviously. But we have to make sure that once we are in the playoffs we can keep on going and use that momentum to get us far."
Midfielder Brad Evans
On if Seattle met Salt Lake in terms of effort tonight:
"No. Definitely not. From minute one, things just weren't clicking. They won every second ball and obviously by the twelfth minute they had the penalty kick. Playing here and scoring early goals make here a difficult place to play especially when they settle in and start switching the point of attack and crowd the midfield. Then the come back and the ball comes off the post and they score six minutes later. Then the heads go down. But without saying that we had a chance. One comes off the crossbar and could have made it 2-1, that would change things. But we never really stopped playing in the game, we pushed till the final minute. We weren't cohesivetonight. Thinking back on the past two games, LA and Orlando, us as central midfielders we were allowed to play a little bit and today with that midfield, with three in there, there was constant pressure. We weren't able to find space to turn and get the forwards involved and really get in behind and create anything. From that standpoint their game plan worked better than ours."
On if the new players are plugging in well to the team:
"Yeah I think so. I think Nelson (Valdez) up top is playing as a striker should and I thought that he held the ball up well today. He drew a lot of fouls for us today and in a game like this away from home you ask for that. From that standpoint, it's going to take more time to get that cohesiveness but at the same time we have got to know that it is so tight right now. We can't let any more points slip like this."
On reaching a point of desperation as a squad:
"I think after this we are there. Whether everybody realizes it is up to them. But I think that that will be addressed this week. Looking at the standings, we have a massive game against Salt Lake at home at the end of the year. We've still got at San Jose and Portland. So there are still plenty of massive games coming up that could swing either way. Those three games especially are going to be indicative of where we finish the season. It's up to us to put our head down. We've got a rivalry game against Portland on Sunday and if we want to make a step forward we have got to get a result."
REAL SALT LAKE
Head Coach Jeff Cassar
On whether he discussed the importance of the game with the team:
"No, not really. I think everyone in that locker room realizes that every one of our games the rest of the year are important. So I didn't need to add any pressure to them. We just stressed ‘Lets do it the way we want to do it.' That's high possession, high-percentage passes and the chances will show themselves. Credit to the players. We connected 433 passes, and they were meaningful passes. That's the way we want to play and credit to the players for going out and doing it."
On the personnel:
"Luis Silva can play several different positions so he knows how to find gaps on the field. He's comfortable coming inside, he's comfortable going wide. Joao Plata the same thing. And when you get good movement, it can really throw off the defenders. They have to make a lot of decisions. It involves our outside backs getting forward, it's something that we're continually striving to get better at and tonight was a very good night."
On the importance of getting two early goals:
"It was massive. We created a lot of chances against Portland but we didn't make their goalkeeper make many saves. Tonight was a bit different. It gave us confidence, and then the way the guys managed the rest of the game was very classy on their part. On a different night we could have even gotten a couple more, but I liked the way the guys controlled the game even when Seattle started to get a little bit of joy we regrouped, got the ball back down on the ground and started to regain control of it rather than giving it away early."
On how big this win is:
"It's huge. Obviously we made the distance between us and Seattle. San Jose wontonight. They are all important. We're going to enjoy this one right now, feel good about it, then Tuesday get back to work against Dallas because we play them twice the rest of the year."
On the defense and the shutout:
"I really thought our back four and Kyle [Beckerman] and Luke [Mulholland] did a great job because you can see Obafemi [Martins] comes, tucks into the midfield and I thought the communication all night was very good. I thought they covered for each other extremely well and that's something that we stressed all week long, and it looked like a unit out there, and that's what I was really pleased about. Nick [Rimando] didn't have too much to do tonight but what he did he was clean, and that's a real solid night for our goalkeeper and back six."
On the return of guys from injuries and if it was a factor in the win:
"I think it's all those things. I think it's consistency, I think it's a good week of training, I think it's communication. There are a lot of things that go into that kind of performance defensively. But I think they are coming together. Obviously having Jamison [Olave] there I think lifts the group up a bit. His presence, his closing down ability, I think that puts some fear in some forwards. Obafemi [Martins] didn't really want to be around him too much tonight, and that's a good thing."
On Juan Manuel Martinez being in the lineup:
"It was really just to get him into the group, to be honest with you. If things worked out it would have been nice to put him in at the end, but we had guys that deserved to be out there, and I wanted to do what the right thing for the group was, but there was a scenario that Juan would have gotten into the game. But Luis [Silva] came out with cramps, so we wanted to go a different route. He didn't even train. I didn't want to throw him in harm's way either. You don't know if he goes out there after 17 hours of travel yesterday, not even training with the team, pulls a hamstring. Thought it was the right decision at the time."
On Sebastian Jaime's goal:
"It's not tuning off. This week we did do a lot of shooting after the Portland game. We did a lot of offensive work. Pattern work on Thursday, a lot of shooting on Friday. But I really like that he was tuned in. As the shot is happening, as it's coming off the bar, he's not relaxing. I thought he was very good all night long. His movement, because [Roman] Torres and [Chad] Marshall are very good center backs, but I really liked that he was alert on that one."
Defender Tony Beltran
On getting 3 points against a team RSL is chasing:
"It's huge. There was no other option at this point in the season, so very proud of the boys' commitment. Both offensively and defensively tonight, because we all knew how big of game that was."
On getting early goals and thoughts on them changing games:
"Tremendously. It really does, especially I feel like whenever here at Rio Tinto and we get off to that good start and we put 1, we put 2 into a team early and it could be real tough on an opponent going to the second half and the altitude comes into play and then they start to die, and we possess the ball well, so it's very pivotal in the game to get those 2 goals early."
On having Plata back on the field:
"He's a special player. He's a game changer, so it's great when he's healthy and we want him on the field. We miss him on the field, so credit to him. It's not easy being out and coming back being up to speed, but he was tremendous tonight."
On forwards cramping up in the game after giving it everything they've got:
"As a defender it really pumps me up when I see a guy like Sebastian Jaime just running for lost causes, and winning balls and putting pressure on center backs. I know personally as a defender, it makes it tougher when a forward plays like that, so full credit to him. He has so much heart. His work rate is tremendous and it's a huge lift."
Midfielder Javier Morales
On if this was the best performance of year:
"We didn't try to play like that, but for me tonight was not a lot different with the last game with Portland. The only thing different was that we scored, I scored today and then the game changed. It's good when you score two goals and you have time to preserve the ball. The other day I think we controlled the game, but we couldn't score, and they scored in the last minute. I think tonight was the best performance."
On how important this game was:
"Yeah we knew it. We knew before the game that is a plus for us right now, because play like tonight, for me against one of the best teams in the league and beating two nothing and control the ball for 90 minutes it's going to be good for our confidence."
On what he is thinking before taking the penalty:
"Nothing, nothing. I try to be calm you know and it's going to be important ball, because it's going to open the game, so I tried to take it in the way that I did and I'm happy that it was a goal."
On keeping the clean sheet with one shot on goal:
"Yeah it was important, especially our defenders. They have been doing great in the last game, then they scored in the last minute, and tonight I think they played good. It's going to be good for everyone. 2-0 like I say against Seattle it's good to go to Dallas and try to get 3 points."