By John Boyle Herald Writer
SEATTLE — So far through the early season ups and downs, Sounders FC coach Sigi Schmid has stuck with, for the most part, the same lineup.
Yes there has been a shift in formation, and at times Schmid has had to adjust because of injuries or multiple games in one week, but through eight games, 10 players in Saturday’s starting 11 have started seven or more games.
Following Saturday’s 4-0 blowout loss at the hands of the L.A. Galaxy, however, change could be coming when Seattle plays at New York next weekend.
“It’s not time to panic, but it is time for some people to wake up, for character to step forward,” Schmid said. “When you’re down two-, three-nothing, people have to step up and show their character and show what they’re made of. Some guys that we’ve asked repeatedly to do certain things, it hasn’t been coming, so there are some changes that are going to be made as a result of that.”
Schmid didn’t single out any players, but it was clear several are in his doghouse after this loss. He described the third goal allowed by his team — a free kick that could have been cleared by both Peter Vagenas and James Riley — as horrendous, embarrassing and inexcusable. On the offensive end of the field, Schmid was unhappy with the effort shown by some players.
“Guys have to be willing to sacrifice their body in the box,” he said. “I don’t need six playmakers, I need somebody who is going to freakin’ get in the box who wants to score goals. That’s what we need.”
Asked if players would be competing for jobs in practice this week, Schmid said: “They compete for spots every week, they should be competing, but definitely we’ve given some guys a longer leash than others and that leash just tore today.”
And while Schmid never named Fredy Montero in his postgame comments, it seems the forward is one the players with whom the coach is displeased. With his team down two goals with more than 30 minutes to play, Schmid summoned rookie Miguel Montano from the bench to replace Montero. Removing one your top scoring threats — Montero led the team with 12 goals last season — is hardly a traditional move while down 2-0.
Montano, on the other hand, was the only bright spot on an otherwise dismal day for Seattle. The 18-year-old Colombian, whose signing wasn’t complete until last week, had an impressive Major League Soccer debut, bringing much-needed energy to the team while creating some of the best scoring chances that Sounders FC had in the game.
“He was probably one of our only positive things out there,” Schmid said.
“I think the only bright spot was Miguel, who was great on his debut,” added midfielder/forward Steve Zakuani. “Young, energy, stuff like that is good to see. I thought that was a bright spot, other than that I don’t think anyone did well.”
Montano, who nearly scored on a cross from Freddie Ljungberg in the 84th minute, enjoyed his debut, though admittedly that joy was tempered by the lopsided loss.
“I felt really good,” Montano said through an interpreter. “I went onto the field with a lot of enthusiasm and I felt really good, I tried really hard. It was my first game in the MLS and with the Sounders, and I felt very good about it, but of course a result didn’t come for us, so I hope for the next game we’ll do better. That was disappointing for me.”
Herald Writer John Boyle: email@example.com.