The Seattle Sounders' march to the end of the season is starting resemble something akin to the last rites.
Again afforded the opportunity to help their own case for commutation, the Sounders couldn’t muster an argument — at least a convincing one — for why their playoff lives should be spared, managing only a 1-1 draw against FC Cincinnati at Lumen Field.
That the draw didn’t completely condemn the Sounders at this point is a minor miracle in and of itself, but the result leaves them on the brink, staring at a bleak fate that seems all the more inevitable by the day.
It was a lot of the same from the Sounders that sees them in this position in the first place. That they were significantly short-handed for the match in the first place was due the deal with the devil they struck back in the spring. Under normal circumstances, the draw might have been considered a reasonable result, but then the Sounders’ circumstances are from that.
Now the Sounders will embark on their final road trip of the season, needing not only a victory but some a host of friendly results elsewhere. And relying on a call from higher power than yourself for salvation at the moment of truth, well, more often than not the phone never rings.
And when it does, sometimes the answer is, “no.”
They are who they have been
Amusing memes aside, at some point it has to be acknowledged that the Sounders are what their record says they are. Potential, poor luck, bad bounces, it all plays at the margins. The Sounders are 12-16-4. It’s not a good record and while they won’t be making room on the trophy case for any wooden spoons, neither will they be framing this MLS season for posterity either.
Goal sums up the season
If you ask how the Sounders got their record, this match is a solid “Exhibit A.” Neither playing poorly nor playing up to their potential, the Sounders managed to find themselves behind early, victims again to a lapse in concentration that allowed FC Cincinnati’s star striker Brenner to get behind the Sounders defense. While the finish was clinical past Stefan Frei, the Sounders were again the architects of their own downfall on the play in the first place.
Depth brings them back
Credit to Fredy Montero and Will Bruin in recent weeks for providing some hope for the Sounders. While neither was probably expecting to be starting key matches down the stretch, both have contributed to the Sounders in their attempt to keep their sinking playoff hopes above water. Against FC Cincinnati it was a bit of the Montero magic in the 58the minute with a well-taken strike to get the Sounders back in the match. It’s what the Sounders brought the pair back for, after all.
Ruinous red cards
Red cards can take various forms, and few think the Sounders are a dirty team, but the end result is the same — the Sounders playing down a man. After essentially two ejection-free seasons, the Sounders have made up for some lost time, tallying four red cards this year. Few will quibble with the call Tuesday night, as Kelyn Rowe clearly committed a DOGSO foul and was correctly sent to the showers. For a team that was desperate to claim all three points, playing down a man nearly cost them any.
Welcome back Roldan
Cristian Roldan made a slightly early-than-expected return from surgery at the end of August, and was obviously a sight for sore eyes. Even by his own admission he was rusty after the hiatus, as some of his touches were off on the day. But he still managed to get in dangerous positions and probably should have scored, or at least put his headed chance on target. But after the match he said his fitness was ahead of where he expected it to be so perhaps he’ll be able to play a more influential role in the Sounders latest must-win match in Kansas City.