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Recent errors fueling Sounders as they enter final push

Contentment is the enemy of success, Stefan Frei says

MLS: Houston Dynamo at Seattle Sounders FC Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

TUWKILA, Wash. — The Seattle Sounders have outscored opponents 8-1 in their last two outings, featuring goals from five different players. Still, the club is not allowing itself to grow complacent during the international break.

After Demarcus Beasley’s late goal against Seattle Oct. 8, Chad Marshall and Stefan Frei were visibly frustrated with the defensive letdown. Sounders head coach Brian Schmetzer shouldered the responsibility for the goal.

“I’m going to take that one on the chin,” Schmetzer said after the match. “That goal was my fault. When you make subs, we were talking about getting these (young) guys ready for Orlando, getting them a feel for the game. The integrity of this game, when you make the three subs for the three young guys, it took a little bit out of that. That’s a decision we made on the bench and it cost us in that one moment. I’ve seen the goal, so I know what we’re going to coach the young guys to do and make sure that expectations are set so it doesn’t happen again, but they were a little bit frustrated. It wasn’t just Chad, they were frustrated giving up a goal because Stef deserves better than that.”

With prominent players Raul Ruidiaz, Gustav Svensson and Nicolas Lodeiro missing for international duty along with Jordy Delem, Schmetzer said Friday that he did not expect to have those four available for the midweek road game against Orlando Wednesday.

The burden on the young players, who will receive greater personal attention from the coaching staff with other players away on national team duty, will be tremendous. The memories of two rough losses to Philadelphia and LA still provide motivation for a team looking to finish strong.

“We’re still as a staff kicking ourselves figuring out ways how we could be better,” Schmetzer said Friday. “We had a home game that was winnable. Why didn’t we? The road game, in case we match up with LA in the playoffs. How are we going to learn from that game to make sure (we don’t make the same mistakes)? It was great that we got a couple of good results. Internally we’re still searching for answers.”

For Frei, the blame for the let up lies with the whole team, but the club must correct its mistakes.

“It’s not the young guys,” Frei said Friday. “They come on and its difficult for them because we were changing the whole midfield. The first play, we have some young guys involved and we score a brilliant goal, but it’s an overall team mentality that maybe let it slip away from us a little bit and let (Houston) play. That’s not just saying the young guys stepped in so it’s their fault, but maybe it’s the veterans making sure we see It out all the way. It’s a whole team effort. It’s going to need everybody. We have a hard road trip coming up, we’re going to have to rotate some bodies, so it’s important that we’re all on the same page. That we’re happy with how we’re approaching games but we’re not content. I think being content is dangerous.

“It was a good result but we needed to win at home. It was important to get the three points I think we were a little ticked off that we got scored on at the end. I know I was. I think that’s good. We need to strive for perfection. I think we’ve given ourselves as decent chance to make the playoffs. We look good, but you can’t be satisfied. It’s a game where we have to see out a shutout. That can be the difference in the playoffs, an away goal or a clean sheet at home is massive. We’re heading the right direction but we’re not satisfied.”

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