8-14-2022

By Alex Benzegala

(Seattle, WA)

In a year where the Seattle Sounders made history as the first MLS team to win the Concacaf Champions League, Seattle’s MLS playoff hopes were severely damaged in a 2-1 loss to Western Conference foe Real Salt Lake on Sunday night. It was a match where the Sounders were poised for a positive result, instead they missed an opportunity to get into a playoff position in their 2nd straight defeat and 8th loss in last 10 matches.

It looked like Seattle struck first in 15th minute on a goal by Raul Rudiaz, but after a review, the goal was disallowed on an offside decision for Christian Roldan. Sounders continued to have chances, but it was RSL who struck 1st on a counterattack and Venezuelan international Sergio Cordova got loose and calmly beat Sounders goalkeeper Stefan Frei to make it 1-0 in the 32nd minute. It was the 6th goal of the season for Cordova, a team high for RSL.

Sounders forward Jordan Morris dribbles forward with the ball

Seattle had a couple more chances late in the half to tie it but it was Salt Lake who went into the break leading 1-0.

The Sounders came out with a renewed sense of energy in 2nd half, getting the ball out wide and getting numerous crosses in the box, and finally Seattle scored when Albert Rusnak scored a goal from outside of the box against his former team to tie the match at 1-1 in 62nd minute. It was the 2nd goal of the campaign for Rusnak and Nicolas Lodeiro got the assist, his 7th of the year.

Unfortunately the thrill of the goal was short lived for Seattle as RSL tied it just 60 seconds later on Jefferson Saverino cross to a wide open Andrew Brody right in front of the goal who scored for the 2nd time in 2022 to give RSL a 2-1 lead, that they did not relinquish.

Seattle continued to have excellent chances late in the match to earn to score, including substitute Fredy Montero having a couple good looks at the goal, but in the end RSL earned the win, their first road victory of the season.

With the win, Real Salt Lake improves to 10-7-8 with 37 points, good for 5th place in the Western Conference. Seattle falls to 10-2-13 with 32 points, 9th in the Western Conference.

Next up for the Sounders is 3 straight road contests, starting with a trip to Los Angeles to face the Galaxy on Friday

 takeaways

While it is not officially time to hit the panic button for the Sounders playoff chances, there is no doubt the level of concern for this team is at an all-time high. Seattle has never missed the playoffs as an MLS team, and there with the talent on the roster, missing the postseason would be a huge mark against a team that achieved a historic achievement just months ago.

The Sounders are still a good team, but the fact of the matter is that they have been wildly inconsistent, and that is putting it mildly. They have been hurt by injuries, with Peruvian international star Raul Ruidiaz missing significant time due to injury, and Joao Paulo out for the rest of the season as well. However, Sounders Head Coach Brian Schmetzer is not making any excuses for his club, he says the team has under-performed for a franchise with such high expectations as the Sounders and knows this 3 game road trip to wrap up August will be crucial for their playoff hopes. Jordan Morris, Ruidiaz and Nicolas Lodeiro are easily 3 of the best players in the entire MLS, but it will take a team effort to get back to the playoffs and make a run in the Western Conference. Seattle is just 1 point off of the final playoff spot with 9 games remaining, but they cannot afford to fall much further behind. The time is now.

Photo credit to Jane Gershovich, Sounders FC communications

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