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The Review: Seattle Sounders vs. Vancouver Whitecaps

When you find yourself in a hole, stop digging.

Last Updated
3 min read
Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

In a season of rock bottoms, Saturday night might have been the rockiest of bottoms in 2024. It’s not just that the Seattle Sounders lost 2-0 at home to the Vancouver Whitecaps, it’s the way they capitulated when the going got tough. Their heads completely fell off after Jackson Ragen received a very dubious red card. They gifted Vancouver two goals with some horrendous play out of the back. And then, to rub salt into the wound, Alex Roldan did the stupidest thing in a match full of braindead moments.

Dissecting the Narrative

Stupidity Begets Stupidity

At the moment of the Ragen red card I was ready to give the Sounders the benefit of the doubt for the remainder of the game. Referees sometimes make mistakes. It happens. I have a lot of sympathy for a team that is on the receiving end of something as game-changing as a call like that. However, I don’t have sympathy for how stupid Seattle was for the rest of the game.

Perhaps it’s because I’m getting older or the horrors of the world are getting to me, but for the most part, I don’t really get upset when the Sounders lose. MLS is a weird league and stuff happens. However, the only time I get upset is when the team does stupid things to lose. The San Jose match and Saturday night made my head hot. It’s one thing when an opponent outclasses you in a match. I think the Whitecaps are a really good team this year and could’ve beaten Seattle in their own right. That’s not what happened when Obed Vargas, Yeimar Gomez Andrade, and Xavier Arreaga gifted Vancouver two goals.

I am not smart enough to tell you why these dumb things keep happening. However, I am human and I have done some stupid things before. Usually when I do an extremely idiotic thing in my life, I have a choice to either respond with anxiety and fear or dust myself off and go again. The Sounders are very much responding to their stupid mistakes with anxiety and fear. It is uncharacteristic of a Brian Schmetzer team historically, but it's happening more frequently. I don't know why, I'm not in the locker room or on the training ground, but I see a team that is playing scared. And you know what they say – scared money don't make money.

What Happens Next?

So, everyone is aware of how dire this situation is. The optimist and the pessimist are aligned after just eight games. But what needs to happen for the Sounders to turn it around? It's pretty simple: they need to stop losing games.

There are two infamous seasons in Seattle’s history that we can look at. So, through 8 games this season the Sounders are 1-4-3 (WLT). That’s a worse start than 2016 (3-4-1) and 2018 (2-4-2). But it was after the first eight games that both of those seasons really went off the rails. In 2018 the Sounders went on to lose 5 of their next 7 matches, putting them at 3-9-3 through 15 matches. From there they go 12 unbeaten to rescue their season.

2016, of course, was a bit messier. After the eigth-game start mentioned above, they went on to lose 8 of their next 12 matches to have a record of 6-12-2 through 20 matches. We obviously know what happened that season… Brian Schmetzer is given the reins and Nicolas Lodeiro is signed.

I do not bring up these two seasons as a blueprint for this season. Quite the opposite, actually. For the Sounders to rescue this season from the pit of despair they should simply stop losing games. By any means necessarily they need to be putting points on the board and they have to do it fast. Between now and the end of May, they will play 8 league games and at least one Open Cup match. Figure it out, get to June with a respectable points haul, and we'll see what happens in the summer.

If that doesn’t happen? Well. Things could get much uglier.