After two straight shutout losses and five losses in their past six, Brad Evans’ frustration finally reached a boiling point. Although he stopped short of naming names, the Seattle Sounders captain suggested certain teammates are "OK with how it’s going" after Saturday’s 2-0 loss to New York City FC.
"Maybe they’ve been at teams where losing is a tradition and you wait for the season to get a fresh start," Evans said during postgame comments in the locker room. "That doesn’t happen here. We don’t have losing seasons. We don’t rest when we’re losing. We’re not OK with it. That has to be an eye-opener. It’s not OK."
Evans also said he understood why fans flooded the exits after NYCFC’s second goal, which came on an ill-advised back pass from Joevin Jones that effectively sealed the match.
"I probably would have left too," Evans said. "I’ve never had to scream so many times for people to wake up to the point where I almost lost my voice. Disappointing. It should be a given that you have to work your ass off at home. Every ball, every bouncing ball, when you lose the ball you have to track back and win it, you have to fight for every single header. The givens aren’t there and that’s why we’re losing games. Extremely disappointed."
While the current run of form may be similar to last year’s summer swoon, several players noted that the previous struggles had the built-in excuse of the team missing key components. There was a sense that once those players returned, that things would get better.
That’s not really the case this time.
"We’ve always found a way to right the wrongs and go on little streaks here and there," Evans said . "But it definitely feels a little different right now. I can’t sit here and be too angry because it will resonate with the group and the last thing you want is for certain people to go in different directions in the middle of the season. But we also have to recognize that we need to do better all over the field."
When asked if he felt there was a universal sense of urgency, Evans was blunt.
"No. We’ve been on other teams before where it’s OK, ‘we’ll get them next time guys.’ That can’t happen here. We’re coming to the midpoint of a season where it can go one of two ways here.
"You can come in and say ‘yeah it’s OK to lose games, we’ll get ‘em next time.’ We can’t afford to right now. If we lose two or three, we’ll end up bottom two in the entire league and that’s how the season will go. You have to come in, you have to work, you have to put your head down and be ready to go."
Bad as these results have been, the Sounders are still just five points out of a playoff spot with games in hand on most of the teams above them. Of course, they’re also just two points ahead of the bottom of the Western Conference.
There’s time to turn it around, but not if they keep playing this way.
"There’s some guys you can talk to and some you can’t because it’s in one ear and out there the other," Evans said. "So you have to pick and choose the guys that you scream at and get under their skin, and other guys you put your arm around them and say ‘next time.’ That’s fine.
"We have to figure out the best combination and we all have to be on board for the same exact goal. If we’re not, we’re going to find ourselves at the bottom of the table."