Sounders coach Brian Schmetzer threw hulking defender Roman Torres in at forward late in Saturday's game because he 'scares people' and would cause chaos in the box as the team sought -- and got -- two tying goals
A couple of days after his team’s historic comeback from three goals down, Sounders coach Brian Schmetzer wasn’t feeling any better about it.
“I don’t feel any better because it’s a game we should have won,” Schmetzer said Monday after a team workout in Tukwila.
Schmetzer admitted the team’s lapses on all three plays leading up to New England Revolution goals were a concern that was being addressed. That includes even the 35-yard cheapie Sounders keeper Stefan Frei let deflect off his hands for the game’s opening goal.
It wasn’t the goal itself, but a series of decisions Schmetzer felt resulted in his team being too loose with the ball and allowing the shot to be taken in the first place.
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“The theme of this week will be team defending,” Schmetzer said.
But credit Schmetzer for the strategy move of Saturday’s eventual 3-3 draw: Bringing on bulky center back Roman Torres to wreak havoc as a forward. Torres had been nursing a bad hamstring for three weeks and wasn’t even supposed to be in the game. But Schmetzer admitted Monday he just wanted Torres to throw his weight around in the box.
“Roman is very good in the air — he scares people,” Schmetzer said. “So, as the game was progressing, in case we had to dump balls into the box, I wanted him to be, you know, an animal inside the box and get his head on things.”
A smirk crossing his face, Schmetzer added: “He drew some attention.”
Plenty of it. The scrambling Revolution looked like a panicked team in disarray after giving up a Nicolas Loderio goal in the 75th minute to cut into their 3-0 lead. Then, the 6-foot-2, 195-pound Torres came on in the 84th minute and crashed around the net like a giant tuna thrown into a wading pool.
The Revolution defenders ran around in circles not sure what to do. Revolution keeper Cody Cropper faced a shooting gallery as the Sounders fought to erase the 3-1 deficit and quickly did when Will Bruin headed one home in the 85th minute, followed by Osvaldo Alonso in the 88th.
It was the first time in team history the Sounders had erased a 3-0 deficit and only the 10th time that’s happened in MLS play. The Sounders nearly won it a few times in the final two minutes of regulation and three minutes of stoppage time.
By the time it was over, they’d tied a six-year-old team record with 26 shots and equaled another club mark by extending their home unbeaten streak to 14.
Frei had challenged his teammates at the half to pick him up for the “blunder” goal he’d allowed.
“The character we showed to get back, that’s the one thing I’ll take from this,” he said. “The fight, the spirit, the togetherness to try to bail your teammates out.”