COMMERCE CITY, Colo. — The Seattle Sounders might have had good reason for losing their fourth game of the season Saturday.
Two reasons, really: starting forwards Clint Dempsey and Nelson Valdez were left back home with injuries.
Maybe even several more reasons, for those interested in counting. They were playing at elevation against the Colorado Rapids, who have Major League Soccer’s stingiest defense.
However, coach Sigi Schmid wasn’t interested in reasons. Or excuses. Or anything but the bottom line that his team hadn’t played well enough and lost 3-1 loss at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.
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“Just not a good game for us,” he said. “Obviously Colorado: Hats off to them. They did well. They scored their goals. … But I thought for us tonight, I thought we didn’t play well at all. I thought it was our worst game of the season.”
Seattle dropped to 2-4-1.
“I thought the first three games of the year even though we lost we were unfortunate and I thought we played better and we created more chances than the opponent and we were a little unlucky,” Schmid said. “Today I thought we, as a unit – when I say team, I don’t be just the players, I mean we as a unit: coaching staff, players – we beat ourselves today. As much as Colorado did a good jo and played well – I don’t want to take anything away from (coach Pablo Mastroeni’s) team for sure – but we did not play well.”
The Sounders also faced mixed injury news in the 50th minute, when Seattle midfielder Andreas Ivanschitz went off with a leg injury, but was replaced by Erik Friberg, back after missing four games with a knee injury.
“It’s difficult (without Dempsey and Valdez), but that’s why this is a team,” captain Brad Evans said. “We all worked out (butts) off in training. We felt good coming into this game.”
The burden of playing without all that firepower multiplied when the Rapids (5-2-1) jumped ahead by two goals, first when midfielder Jermaine Jones headed home a curling free kick from midfielder Shkelzen Gashi; and then when Luis Solignac swept in a cross from Dominique Badji.
Seattle got one back in the 63rd minute when Christian Roldan sent a pass across the top of the penalty box to Morris, who finished solidly.
But the Sounders had to push forward aggressively after that, and the Rapids got the dagger in the 86th minute from Kevin Doyle.
“There was no leadership on the field,” Schmid said. “I expect more. I believe they need to expect more of each other. It rests on my shoulders at the end of the day. Maybe we didn’t have them prepared enough. Colorado did a good job of bringing Gashi off the front line, and he picked up a lot of balls there, and nobody on the field for us ever figured that out. And this isn’t basketball: You can’t call time out and call them over.”
Seattle ended the game short-handed as Evans was shown two late yellow cards for dissent. Evans said the things got out of hand after referee Jorge Gonzalez refused to explain a couple of calls he had made.
“I said, ‘You need to talk to me,” Evans said. “He said no. “I gave him an expletive; he gave me a yellow card. I said,” It’s your duty to talk to me on the field.’ He said, ‘No it’s not.’ I gave him another expletive, and that was the double yellow.”
Evans will be suspended for the Columbus Crew’s visit Saturday to CenturyLink Field. However, the club indicated that Dempsey (groin) and Valdez (hamstring) should be back by then, and Schmid indicated that Ivanschitz was taken off mostly as a precautionary measure after he reported leg tightness.