The Seattle Sounders are alone at the bottom of Major League Soccer.
The Sounders lost Saturday night for the third time in three outings, this time a 2-1 defeat to the rival Vancouver Whitecaps.
The result — which came from a pair of Vancouver penalty kicks — dropped Sounders FC to 0-3 for the first time in its history and left the Sounders as the only team in the league yet to record a win or a draw.
And although coach Sigi Schmid once again praised his team’s effort and its control of play, he’s been around long enough to know that he and his guys are in a bottom-line business.
“We’ve got to stay strong in our will and in our endeavor and in our will and in our belief with each other,” he said. “But obviously we’re not happy, I’m not happy, the players aren’t happy, the organization’s not happy. It’s something that’s a result-orientated business. I know that at the end of the day we have to start getting some results or quite a few of us could be looking for new jobs.”
It only adds to the frustration that both of the penalty kick calls were debatable to one degree or another — although at least there was clear contact the second time.
In the ninth minute, midfielder Christian Bolanos chased a ball down the right side of the penalty area and went down, perhaps after having his heel nudged by pursuing Seattle defender Joevin Jones.
Vancouver captain Pedro Morales converted the PK hard and left, while Sounders goalkeeper Stefan Frei went the other way.
The Sounders equalized in the 52nd minute, when Andreas Ivanschitz blazed a free kick between goalkeeper David Ousted and the inside post from 19 yards.
But just over 20 minutes later, the Whitecaps played a ball into the top left corner of the penalty area. Central defender Chad Marshall slid to sweep it away, but Vancouver midfielder Blaz Perez arrived right behind, his foot came down on Marshall, and the whistle blew.
Again, Morales took the penalty kick, this time just getting it wide of the diving Frei.
“I’m not sure about the PKs,” Schmid said. “I’ve seen guys trip themselves in the box before. … Not pleased with the result. I thought we controlled the majority of the game.”
That they did as the Sounders outshot the Whitecaps 19-9 and held 60 percent of the possession.
However, for the third consecutive game, none of high-profile forwards — none of Clint Dempsey, Nelson Valdez ore Jordan Morris — could get on the scoresheet. Seattle has just two goals this season, both from midfielders.
On Saturday, the work rate was unquestionably there. And so were the chances. But Valdez couldn’t quite get a foot to a cross in front of the goal mouth. And Morris sent a soft shot at the goalkeeper in a one-on-one faceoff. And Dempsey touched a shot just wide of the open far post.
As expected, the Sounders were without midfielder Erik Friberg (knee) and centerback Brad Evans (shoulder). However, Frei returned in goal after a one-game absence.
Before the match, U.S. Soccer announced that Morris has been called in to the United States U-23 team as it continues Olympic qualifying efforts. The USA has matches Friday and March 29.
Sounders game in review
The basics: The Seattle Sounders are the final team in Major League Soccer without a win or a draw yet this season, as they fell 2-1 to the Vancouver Whitecaps. Until Saturday, the Whitecaps also had no points in the standings. The Sounders outshot the visitors 19-9 but couldn’t overcome two Vancouver goals on penalty kicks. Midfielder Andreas Ivanschitz got the lone goal for Seattle, a blazing free kick from 19 yards in the 52nd minute.
Player of the match: Pedro Morales converted both PKs for the winners.
Key moments: Referee Mark Geiger called two fouls against Seattle in the penalty area, leading to both Vancouver goals by penalty kick. The first came in the ninth minute, when defender Joevin Jones might have clipped the heel of Christian Bolanos, who went down. In the 73rd minute, Chad Marshall went down for a slide tackle, and Blas Perez stepped on Marshall and went down. Pedro Morales converted both PKs.
Notes: Clint Dempsey, Nelson Valdez and Jordan Morris all had good chances at goals, but Seattle’s goal drought from the forward position continued. Midfielders Osvaldo Alonso and Ivanschitz have the club’s only two goals. … S2 alum Oalex Anderson subbed on for Morris in the 71st minute. … Seattle played without starting midfielder Erik Friberg (strained right knee) and centerback Brad Evans (shoulder).
Next match: The Sounders have a bye next weekend. They return to action at 7 p.m. April 2 when the Montreal Impact visits.