As the Seattle Sounders’ season has gone increasingly off course during the summer, there’s been a growing sensation that luck simply isn’t on their side. The 2-1 loss to the Portland Timbers on Friday was a good example.
The equalizer came on a highly questionable penalty on which VAR somehow didn’t intervene despite ample evidence that no foul occurred. The Sounders also had a glorious look at their own equalizer, only for Jackson Ragen to put his open header off the underside of the crossbar and for it to ricochet out instead of in. A week earlier, VAR had intervened to award the LA Galaxy a late and somewhat questionable penalty, robbing the Sounders of two more points. A week before that, the Sounders surrendered an even later game-winner to a player who had only scored twice previously in about 4,000 MLS minutes.
Such breaks have been common during the Sounders’ current 2-7-1 run, a stretch in which all but one match was decided by one goal or less.
Frustrating as that has been, though, goalkeeper Stefan Frei refuses to write it all off as simply the will of the soccer gods.
“Luck is a great term, but you create your own luck,” Frei said before departing for Wednesday’s game at Orlando City. “Do you create a bit of luck in your opponent’s 18 or do you create luck on the other side? You can control those things a little bit. If we’re of an offensive mind and we’re sharp in the mind, maybe we’re not going to put it in the referee’s lap. Maybe we are on the front foot and pushing for that second goal and we get lucky and are rewarded on the other end.”
By Frei’s reckoning, focusing on the “luck” aspect is unhelpful. Not only does it do nothing to change past results, it also doesn’t make things any easier moving forward.
“What can we do to put ourselves in better positions to get points?” Frei said. “Creating your own luck, I believe in that. We need to do more of that.”
To Frei’s point, there is still ample opportunity for the Sounders’ to change their own luck. There are still seven games remaining and a reasonably small four-point gap to make up for the final playoff spot. Four of those remaining games will be at home and the other three are all at places where the Sounders have enjoyed some historical success.
For all the tough breaks the Sounders have suffered, they’ve rarely been completely out of matches. That gives Frei reason to believe that just getting one positive result could kickstart a real turnaround.
“There’s a lot of frustration, but the one thing I’m really happy about and is part of our DNA is we never quit,” he said. “It’s been so frustrating, but I know the guys are going to fight until the very end. I don’t have to ask of that. I know that’s a given and we’ll do that for as long as we can.
“We just need to be more proactive where we find ourselves in a position where we create our own luck and somehow we squeak out a result, that gives us some confidence and all of a sudden you’re on a train that has to arrive sooner or later.”