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Five thoughts on a frustrating loss to CF Montreal

Sounders started strong but that quickly fizzled.

MLS: CF Montreal at Seattle Sounders FC Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

The beauty of three-game weeks is that there’s not a lot of time to dwell on results, because another match is right around the corner.

That might not be much consolation for the Seattle Sounders, but after a disappointing 2-1 home defeat to the CF Montreal, they’ll have to take the positives where they can get them. Unfortunately, the bright spots during the match itself were early, and not often.

After a bright start in which the Sounders easily exploited Montreal’s high press, they suddenly couldn’t, and for the remainder of the first half ceded possession to the visitors, couldn't get the ball back and turned it over when they did. The lead was relatively short-lived, as well, when Jackson Ragen was caught in possession that led to a 2-on-1 break.

Things got a bit better to start the second half until they didn't ... again. And while the possession stats improved, the Sounders were seemingly chasing shadows, and frequently Montreal’s attackers who had little trouble getting into dangerous positions. The visitors were finally rewarded with a second goal in the 62nd when Mason Toye got on the end of a Kei Kamara pass and beat Nouhou to the ball to give Montreal the winning margin. The Sounders mounted a late charge, but in the end ran out of time.

Jordan Morris continues run of form

There might need to be a Jordan Morris 2022 World Cup Stock Watch. It was only a few weeks ago that the chatter was that he was on the outside looking in of the 2022 USMNT World Cup squad. With a handful of goals — including the equalizer in the Nations League — things are looking up for Morris, who was a one-man wrecking crew against the Impact. To be sure playing a high line with one defender marking Morris seems like a questionable way to go through life, but Morris still has to convert his opportunities, and in the 3rd minute, he did so with aplomb. Morris now has four goals in his past five appearances for club and country.

Sounders can’t replicate early success

Mere moments after Morris had turned Montreal inside out and opened the scoring, he had a nearly identical opportunity. Though that was ultimately flagged offside, it seemed like a tactic the Sounders would be able to exploit at will. But aside from a couple of half-chances, they were never really able to truly capitalize on during the rest of the match. Given the Sounders inability to sustain attacks throughout the match, some route 1 soccer might have been the way to go, but it wasn’t something they were able to utilize with any consistency during the match.

Give Montreal some credit

With the win, Montreal climbed to the top of the Eastern Conference standings, likely a surprise to those who haven't seen them play up close or paid much attention to the other side of the league. It’s easy to see why they are having a successful season: Their attack is quite dangerous even missing a key component or two. While Kai Kamara is on the back end of his career, he still caused the Sounders all sorts of problems, tallying two assists. With the likes of Romell Quioto and Djordje Mihailovic having solid seasons, it’s not hard to see why they’ve had an offensive resurgence.

Sounders didn’t help themselves

Whether it was the inability to hold possession or turning over the ball in poor positions, the Sounders were, by and large, the architects of their own demise. Montreal’s high press caused the Sounders all sorts of issues, and aside from the opportunities when they were able to release Morris in dangerous positions, it was a disappointing team performance. Rare is the time that anyone gets the better of Nouhou, and when that happens you know the Sounders are in for a rough day at the office.

Downer to close out homestand

To be sure 3-1-1 isn’t an unreasonable showing in a five-game stretch. As coach Brian Schmetzer noted, 10 of 15 points extrapolated over an MLS season will leave you contending for the Supporters’ Shield. But only half of those games are at home, and as Schmetzer also pointed out, you have to win your home games. So the Sounders will have to find some places to make up the dropped home points, with their next opportunity in less than 72 hours in Toronto, on short rest, with a significantly depleted roster. Nobody said it would be easy.

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