The assignment that looms, a three-game road trip, might seem daunting at first to Sounders FC. But maybe some action away will be good.
For just the third time in team history, Seattle is amid a home losing streak.
After Saturday’s stunning 2-1 loss against the Columbus Crew, which featured a last-minute winner by forward Justin Meram, the Sounders at home have lost two in a row, gone 1-3-2 in their past six regular-season games and dropped four of eight overall when including the playoffs.
The quality of play hasn’t been the issue this season.
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The main concern has been crucial mistakes.
Against Columbus, that came in the second half as Seattle was protecting a 1-0 lead. Crew forward Dominic Oduro sneaked behind the Sounders defense in the penalty box and, while attempting a one-on-one chance on goalkeeper Stefan Frei, was tackled from behind by defender Djimi Traore.
Oduro fought through the contact to fire a shot, an attempt blocked at nearly point-blank range by Frei’s face, but referee Allen Chapman ruled the Traore contact was worthy of a foul, thus a penalty kick.
FIFA rules also state the denial of an obvious goal-scoring opportunity is an offense worthy of a red card — perhaps a harsh punishment when a PK is also involved — and so Traore was ejected, leaving the Sounders to play the final 30 minutes with 10 men.
“It’s double jeopardy,” coach Sigi Schmid said. “Is it a penalty and red card? Is it a penalty and a yellow? I don’t know.”
Seattle, while short-handed, managed the rest of Saturday’s game quite effectively, until the final minute. This time the gaffe was less individual and more collective, as the Sounders, some amid discussion with Chapman, were left watching as Columbus played a quick corner kick and Meram curled in a beauty of a right-footed shot from just inside the penalty box.
“Mentally we just sort of turned off for a few seconds,” said defender Dylan Remick. “Whether the ref distracted us or not, that’s sort of up to interpretation. We have to stay focused all the way through the game.”
The Sounders had been on a 40-0-11 run when scoring first, the longest active run in MLS and seven games short of the New York Red Bulls’ league record.
Evans replaced on U.S. roster
Brad Evans, who has missed the past two games with a calf injury, will not travel to Arizona for the U.S. national team’s friendly Wednesday. He has been replaced on the roster by Real Salt Lake defender Tony Beltran.
Seattle will still have representation in the exhibition through Clint Dempsey, the U.S. captain who has completed his two-game MLS suspension, and homegrown product DeAndre Yedlin.
• The Sounders beat the University of Portland 5-0 in a reserve game Sunday. Kevin Parsemain, who signed Friday, scored twice, and Seattle also got goals from Chad Barrett, Marco Pappa and Kent native Cam Weaver.
• Defender Leo Gonzalez became the fifth player to make 100 MLS appearances for the Sounders, joining Osvaldo Alonso, Fredy Montero, Evans and Jhon Kennedy Hurtado.
• Jalil Anibaba, a second-half substitute, became the 10th newcomer to make his Sounders FC debut this season.
• The Sounders and American Red Cross raised $17,400 Saturday in disaster relief donations, particularly for the Oso mudslide. Team ownership will match $15,000, raising the total donation to $32,400.
Joshua Mayers: 206-464-3184 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @joshuamayers.