By John Boyle Herald Writer
SEATTLE — This time there was no late-game heartbreak. No stoppage time letdown.
No, this was a beating, plain and simple.
Sounders FC came into Saturday’s game on a run of tough-luck results — ties that should have been wins, losses that could have turned out differently — but that wasn’t the case this time. Against the Los Angeles Galaxy, Seattle was simply outclassed, losing 4-0 in front of a stunned crowd of 36,273.
“We got beat and we got beat solidly,” Sounders FC coach Sigi Schmid said. “It’s not the kind of game we ever want to repeat again.”
The loss drops Seattle to 2-3-3, and leaves Sounders FC, a team that came into the season with title hopes, 13 points behind first-place L.A., which improved to 7-0-1.
The loss was disappointing to Schmid not only because of the final score, but also because he didn’t like the effort he saw from his team once the game got out of hand.
“I really wasn’t pleased with the effort when we were three goals down,” Schmid said. “I think you have to show character and say, ‘Hey, if we’re going lose, we’re going to go down swinging and get a couple goals.’ Some guys had that attitude and other guys phoned it in.”
Of course before anyone could be accused of phoning it in, the game had to get out of hand first. Though it was a distant memory by the time Landon Donovan put the Galaxy up 4-0, Seattle actually played well for much of the first half. Sounders FC controlled possession, but went to the locker room down 1-0 after Jovan Kirovski scored from long range taking advantage of a rare Kasey Keller mistake when the Seattle goalkeeper misjudged the movement on the ball, getting a hand on it, but not making the save.
“Unfortunately I made a mistake, put the team a goal down and we didn’t recover from it,” Keller said. “It’s one of the fun parts about goalkeeping. Some days you just have to hold your hand up and say, ‘Sorry about that,’ and that’s what today was for me.”
And after that goal, it seemed Seattle could never recover. L.A. took a 2-0 lead in the 52nd minute when Omar Gonzalez headed in a Donovan corner kick, then went up 3-0 when Peter Vagenas whiffed on an attempt at heading away a Donovan free kick, leaving Todd Dunivant the recipient of a goal that Schmid described as a “horrendous third goal, an embarrassing third goal.”
After assisting on the first three goals, Donovan scored the fourth to cap the rout, finishing on a cross from Edson Buddle. A lot of talk this week about stopping Buddle, who came into the game with a league-leading nine goals. Well, Seattle did keep Buddle off the score sheet aside from that assist, but Sounders FC didn’t do well to stop the rest of the Galaxy, and the result was a score that matched a game last year in San Jose as the worst loss in team history. It was also Seattle’s first league loss at Qwest Field by more than one goal.
“A lot of criticism is going to come our way and we’ll accept and still believe in ourselves and hopefully we can put it right soon,” midfielder/forward Steve Zakuani said. “… You now really have to look at what’s really going on. I think every player on the team has to look at themselves and say, ‘What can I do to contribute to the team?’ I don’t think there’s one player today that can hold their hand up and say ‘I did well.’”
If any good comes out of this loss, Schmid said, it will be that that the blowout could serve as a wakeup call.
“Sometimes something like this is good, because when you’re close and you tie, the guys listen to you but they don’t really believe you,” he said. “But when you get your rear end handed to you, people are a little more attentive, and today we got our rear end handed to us.”
Herald Writer John Boyle: firstname.lastname@example.org.