Scoring three goals and losing is quite a feat. Especially when the opponents don’t actively put any balls into the back of your net. Unfortunately the Sounders managed just that in another road loss to a Western Conference opponent. FC Dallas did very little to threaten the Sounders for most of the game, but the chances they did have the Sounders had the misfortune of directing into their goal.
Offensively, the Sounders displayed some of the same lethargy that hurt them in Kansas City for a large portion of the game. Again, they seemed to wake up late, but weren’t able to find an equalizer to get a result. So they’ll take a three-game winless streak to Montreal, where the team may be depleted to the point they may need to take advantage of the MLS hardship policy to fill their bench.
Midfield misery: Cristian Roldan does a great many things well, and with an otherwise full compliment of Sounders starters, he could (and has) done a good job as a No. 10. But with Nico Lodeiro, Victor Rodriguez and Jordan Morris out, it’s probably asking him to do too much at that position. Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to provide what Lodeiro (or even Rodriguez) do from that position. That’s not his fault of course, but it limited chances for the Sounders and took him out of his better positions.
Too slow: Sticking with the midfield theme, Harry Shipp and Alex Roldan simply don’t have the pace to threaten on the wings, and the Sounders had trouble creating much width, even with Leerdam and Smith overlapping. Alex Roldan was partially responsible for the second own-goal when he got caught napping and allowed a cross to be sent in that Smith redirected into Stefan Frei’s net. At this level that shouldn’t be happening.
MLS scheduling: The Sounders do a decent job of staying out of international breaks, but playing Wednesday is going to cause a lot of pain. A full list of Sounders players who will be gone will be revealed early this week, and the team that they put out against Montreal is likely to cause some heartburn for fans. Of course, Montreal will be missing a handful of players as well, which makes one wonder why this game was scheduled at all, on a weekday when attendance generally suffers anyway.
Shield dreams: The league’s penchant for “MLS-ing” aside, it’s probably time to kiss the hopes at the Supporters’ Shield goodbye. Sure Los Angeles FC may slip up over the grueling summer, but they’ve currently got a whopping nine-point cushion on the field and lead the Sounders by 12 points. LAFC is simply more talented than anyone else and show no signs of letting up. Unless someone takes a cue from Portland and beats Vela into a season-ending injury, it seems unlikely that anyone will catch them.
Raul Ruidiaz: The man just scores. Starved of service because of the aforementioned midfield issues, the Peruvian forward took advantage of one of the few opportunities to at least put a shot on goal. Deflection or no, he got the Sounders back into the game. That’s six goals in 10 appearances this year and 19 in 26 career MLS appearances.
Joevin Jones: While he didn’t influence the game in any particular way, it was good to see him make his debut. Flying into town on Wednesday, he only had two training sessions before entering the game. He showed his versatility by playing right back, when the team moved Kelvin Leerdam up a line to take advantage of his offensive form.
Next Kid Up: Given the Sounders’ personnel situation, it’s entirely possible that recent signees Danny Leyva and Alfonso Ocampo-Chavez will at least make the 18 for the Sounders, and it hardly seems far-fetched that at least one will play. Both players did not start for the Tacoma Defiance in their loss to El Paso Locomotive, though both got some time. Of the two Leyva is more likely to see time against Montreal.