A dominating road win over a top Western Conference foe would have gone a long way to calm worried minds among Seattle Sounders fans, but it wasn't meant to be.
FC Dallas was strong and disciplined at home, and were very fortunate to go up a goal in one of the first few plays of the game, allowing them to sit back more and more as the match went on, even grabbing the late insurance strike through some vintage Mauro magic.
The Sounders performed admirably for the most part, eventually locking down the Dallas attack and creating some very good chances. Stefan Frei was dominant on both reaction saves and in charging off his line. On another night, the Sounders could have easily escaped with at least a draw.
The quotes from the Sounders are short and sweet, essentially saying: 'Time to get back to work, on to the next one.'
Seattle Sounders FC 0 - FC Dallas 2
Saturday, May 14th, 2016
Venue: Toyota Stadium. Frisco, Texas
Referee: Ricardo Salazar.
Assistants: AR1 (bench): Chris Strickland; AR2 (opposite): Claudio Badea
Fourth Official: Rubiel Vazquez
Weather: Clear, 68 degrees
DAL - Mauro Diaz (PK) 3
DAL - Michael Barrios (Mauro Rosales) 80
Seattle Sounders FC:
Stefan Frei, Tyrone Mears, Brad Evans, Chad Marshall, Joevin James, Erik Friberg, Osvaldo Alonso, Cristian Roldan (Oalex Anderson 77), Clint Dempsey, Jordan Morris, Herculez Gomez (Andreas Ivanschitz 66).
Substitutes Not Used: Tyler Miller, Aaron Kovar, Dylan Remick, Nathan Sturgis, Zach Scott.
Total shots: 7 (Dempsey, 2)
Shots on goal: 3 (3 players tied at 1)
Fouls: 11 (4 players tied at 2)
Offside: 2 (Gomez/Ivanschitz, 1)
Corner-kicks: 2 (Gomez/Ivanschitz, 1)
Saves: 2 (Frei, 2)
Chris Seitz, Maynor Figueroa, Walker Zimmerman, Zach Loyd, Ryan Hollingshead, Victor Ulloa, Carlos Gruezo, Michael Barrios, Mauro Diaz (Mauro Rosales 79), Fabian Castillo (Atiba Harris 71), Tesho Akindele (Kellyn Acosta 55).
Substitutes Not Used: Jesse Gonzalez, Juan Esteban Ortiz, Carlos Lizarazo, Timo Pitter.
Total shots: 7 (Barrios, 3)
Shots on goal: 4 (Barrios, 2)
Fouls: 12 (Hollingshead/Gruezo, 3)
Offside: 2 (Castillo/Barrios, 1)
Corner-kicks: 3 (Diaz, 3)
Saves: 3 (Seitz, 3)
Sounders FC head coach Sigi Schmid
General thoughts on the match...
Obviously, goals change games. When they got on top early, that impacted the game. I thought we had two, maybe even three good chances to equalize. They opened us up. The midfield, the first half, was disorganized. The second half was much better organized.
On the MLS being a tough league on the road...
The fan bases are much better, much louder, much stronger than they were a few years ago. That makes playing away from home a little bit tougher. We have had a couple of road games early this season. I felt we should have come out with more, but tonight is just one of those nights.
Sounders FC defender Brad Evans
On keeping possession...
If possession won us games... I thought we had good possession throughout the game, but that is not the case. We've got to find some good mix between possession, stretching teams and creating more and more chances. We get back to work next week. We have a home game, but then we have two more on the road in five days. At some point, we've got to turn the table and get on the right side of results away from home.
On Dallas' playing a defensive second half...
They take out a striker. They take out a right midfielder and put in a defender in a more defensive minded possession play. We had good possession, but did not have as many good chances as in the first half.
Sounders FC forward Herculez Gomez
On Seattle's offensive game...
If I put that one away in the first few minutes, we will be talking about a different game. It is difficult because, on a personal note, you can change the outcome of the game. On a team note, we were good at times, but we are not in the business of moral victories, so it is difficult. We had some good chances, but they are a team that sat back. [FC Dallas] did very well to put guys behind the ball. They are very good on the counter, and that is how they got their second.
On Dallas' defense...
Any time as a team you are chasing the game... When you are down from minute three, it is very difficult. Chasing the game is not the easiest thing. It does not matter if you are playing against eleven or twelve. It is a very difficult thing.
Sounders FC goalkeeper Stefan Frei
On Dallas' speed...
We knew [Mauro] Diaz could distribute the ball. We gave a little too much space and time in the beginning. Obviously, they have some pace up top as well. Luckily, I was able to judge some of those and help out my team. In the second half, we obstructed their distribution a little bit better. They were not allowed to find space behind so much.
On Seattle's defense...
We adjusted well once we realized that [Dallas' speed] was one of the issues. Still giving up two goals and coming up empty handed... It hurts.
FC Dallas head coach Oscar Pareja
Thoughts on the match...
I thought it was a game that showed a lot of intelligence from the players tactically on a very difficult day, especially in the fitness part (having played) three days ago. Today they brought energy and were very disciplined tactically. I was pleased to see in the second half how they understood the game and the challenges Seattle had, and they solved the problems. I thought the players solved it, and they deserved the win. Six points in a week; and the effort of the team was rewarded for sure.
Second six-point week of the season how important can that be later in the season?
It's refreshing for sure. After the stretch that we had on the games away, the boys, this week, did a terrific job to get the points and get a good performance, bouncing back and trying to get better performances. It feels pretty good for sure.
The confidence is growing. The team is getting confidence, and we had bad experiences the last few weeks with results that are not easy to change. We lost some games that put us in a bad position defensively, and today getting the clean sheet is a great reward for the boys. We're not there yet and you can see the team is getting back in form, but there's still a long way to go to see the team we want. Tonight I reward them due to the tactical intelligence they had, and the structure they showed.
You mentioned the tactical discipline showed, how much of that played into your substitutions in the second half?
The game plan with the three forwards was trying to rotate them. I wanted Tesho up front with his frame, and it's a game that sometimes forces you to play long. I wanted Tesho to compete for that ball. At the same time I know Mikey (Barrios) and Fabian (Castillo) came from a tough game on Wednesday. They've been running the whole week. Jones and Mears go attacking often, so we tried to rotate it.
How important was getting the first goal after giving up the first goal in the last few home games?
I had tremendous joy when it was 1-0, and I just looked up [at the sky] because it could've been the opposite. The first minutes they were in front of (Chris) Seitz, and I thought they had some chances. I said to my assistant ‘we'll win today.' We went to the other side and had a couple options, and then the PK came.
FC Dallas midfielder Mauro Rosales
On getting an assist seconds after entering the match...
It's what the coaches asked me to do. I was focused and tried to help the team keep possession... help them control the match. We had the lead, and it was the closing minutes. The team has worked hard the past two matches so I was in there just to help control the game. Getting an assist was a plus. My focus was to help keep control of the ball and make Seattle chase because we had a tiring match on Wednesday against Portland. My focus was to close out this match.
On his assist...
Michael [Barrios] played me a high pass. It was a little behind me. When he made the pass, I remember him taking off into space. I just put it there in the space and his speed took care of the rest.
On getting six points in four days...
It's two great results against Western Conference opponents. It gives us confidence moving forward. We are really happy to end the week like this. Now, we have a few days off and then we'll focus on getting ready for next week.
FC Dallas midfielder Victor Ulloa
On having Wednesday off to be fresh for tonight's start...
That was the plan, for me to get a rest Wednesday night, and I think it worked out perfectly. I had a lot of energy tonight. I am glad we were able to get a good result.
On the clean sheet...
Important for us. We always want to get shutouts. It's a point of emphasis for us, and now we have to go and take care of business away against New England.
On getting an early goal...
We wanted to get the intensity up, even in the warm-up. We did, and that worked out perfect as well. We need to work on being able to do that every single game. Getting an early goal helped us out a lot.
On playing away next week...
This week gives us confidence, for sure. Six points in a week here at home. We need to find a way to get a result away. That is our focus this week.