Seattle has lost four of five matches without forwards Clint Dempsey and Obafemi Martins. But Zach Scott says the Sounders will look back on their slump as an aberration — maybe even as a necessary wake-up call.
Maybe Zach Scott is right and that, in the Champagne buzz of a championship celebration, the Sounders will look back and see their recent slump as a laughable aberration — maybe even as a necessary wake-up call.
“At no point have we broken apart,” Scott said of the locker-room morale this week. “We’re very confident as a team that we’re going to push through this. And I tell you what, at the end of the year, we’re going to look back on this period and think, ‘Those were some growing pains, but that’s what led to us hopefully winning another trophy.’ ”
Maybe so, but in the moment, it’s hard to look at this stretch with anything else but a wince. Seattle has lost four of five matches without forwards Clint Dempsey and Obafemi Martins, having sprinkled just two goals among them.
And it’s unlikely to get any easier to watch Saturday night at CenturyLink Field, when the Sounders host the Colorado Rapids, the lowest-scoring team in Major League Soccer.
Most Read Sports Stories
- Frustrated Pac-12 football teams want to play Oct. 31. Why not let them?
- It's time for Pac-12 to start playing football. Those who are behind will catch up.
- Seahawks may have to be more balanced against Patriots, but Russell Wilson will still be at the center of it all
- What to watch for when the Seahawks face the Patriots in Week 2 — plus Bob Condotta's prediction
- Reports: Pac-12 Conference leaning toward seven-game football season beginning Nov. 7
Colorado is in last place in the Western Conference, and not by coincidence. The Rapids typically have ranked near the bottom of the league in spending, and though they’ve risen to 14th in the salary numbers released this week by the MLS Players Union, that’s largely thanks to thus-far underwhelming designated-player signing Kevin Doyle.
The Rapids are in the basement despite having won two consecutive matches. They’ve scored the fewest goals in the league, 17 in 19 games, despite having scored three against rival Salt Lake last week.
The Sounders won 3-1 in a wild, open game in Colorado this season, but that shootout was more exception than the rule when these teams meet.
“Colorado is a different team,” Sounders coach Sigi Schmid said. “The last two games, they’ve played a 4-3-3 and won the last two games. I would imagine the coach (Pablo Mastroeni) probably wants to stay with those players and that system.”
The Sounders’ lineup is likely to be very different from the one that took the field in Commerce City, Colo., in April, too, and not for the better. Frustration finally is seeping through, no matter how much Scott and his teammates maintain that their season will level out once Martins and Dempsey come back.
Sounders general manager and president of soccer Garth Lagerwey acknowledged, in the wake of the team’s 1-0 loss to lowly Chicago last week, that it is in the market for a “goal-dangerous” player while the summer transfer window is open.
“We obviously hoped that some of those other guys could step up,” Lagerwey said. “Again, as I said when (Dempsey and Martins) left, we hoped that, collectively — we didn’t think we had a one-for-one replacement on our roster, I don’t think anybody in the world does — but could we collectively generate a little bit more out of the midfield? … That obviously hasn’t happened. You’ve got to adjust, and you’ve got to react.”
Schmid hinted that significant changes could be made to the squad that played so limply against the Fire, but he doesn’t have many alternatives.
Marco Pappa returned to Seattle on Thursday night following Guatemala’s early exit from the Gold Cup, but he played 90 minutes against Cuba on Wednesday and conceded that he would most likely be available only as a substitute Saturday. Rookie forward Andy Craven sprained a knee ligament in a collision with reserve goalkeeper Charlie Lyon at practice Thursday and could miss up to a month.
“Everybody looks at us right now like a wounded animal,” Schmid said. “People are upbeat, maybe more upbeat than they are when they normally play against us. I feel good about our character and our response.”