TUKWILA — Given a couple more days to let it sink in, it didn’t seem as though the late equalizer stung Seattle Sounders head coach Brian Schmetzer much less than it did on Friday when the LA Galaxy pulled out a 3-3 draw.
Schmetzer said the two dropped points still felt more like a loss than a tie, especially after the Sounders showed so much promise in erasing a 2-0 deficit to take a 3-2 lead on the road.
“Trying to find words after that game was one of the hardest things I’ve had to do this year,” Schmetzer said. “They put everything into that game, into the second half. They played really good. I didn’t know what to say to them. I really didn’t.
“This is about as low as we can go. There’s only one direction it can go, it has to get better. They put everything in.”
Part of the disappointment stems from familiar struggles again hurting the Sounders. The first two goals were the product of defensive errors that are unlikely to be repeated — at least not by the same players — and the third one was caused by a somewhat questionable penalty that marked the third time this year the Sounders have dropped points on a stoppage-time goal (costing them a total of four points).
But Schmetzer also was proud of the way the Sounders came back and was encouraged by the overall offensive play, particularly the partnership between Raúl Ruidíaz and Jordan Morris, who were deployed as forwards in a 3-5-2 formation. Ruidíaz had a goal and an assist, while Morris scored one goal and had another just barely flagged offside.
“The three goals were progress,” he said. “The team shape, the tactical ideas, there were positives there. Jordan and Raúl for a first run-out was good. A little more dangerous on set-pieces, we put them under pressure. Some of the stuff we’re doing is working.”
Was it enough to turn around a season that has gone a bit off the rails? That could be determined by how much momentum can be carried into Friday’s match against the Portland Timbers, a game that has significant playoff and Cascadia Cup implications. A Sounders win would lift them to sixth place in the West and keep alive their hopes of winning a fourth straight Cascadia Cup.
“There were enough bright spots in a tough draw/loss that we’ll be ready,” Schmetzer said. “The team is going to be up for the game.”
- Cristian Roldan was a late scratch from Friday’s match with the LA Galaxy after it was revealed that he was dealing with an athletic pubalgia (sports hernia) and was not a participant in Monday’s training session. He continues to be evaluated.
- Ruidíaz was seen limping after coming out of Friday’s game, but Schmetzer said that it was a blister and not something that should affect is availability going forward. Ruidíaz, who has 10 career goals against the Timbers, remains likely to be available for a full 90 minutes.