Luck not really a factor anymore as Sounders lose third match in a row
It was easy to brush off the Sounders’ road loss in Dallas, where the home side hadn’t lost more than three matches in nearly as many years. It was similarly easy to excuse how Seattle lost last weekend at home to the current best team in the league.
But couple those with an away loss against an Eastern Conference bottom-feeder and the concerns have become something that are hard to wave away.
I think very few thought this match would go the way that it did; the Sounders may have had a bad run of form, but they’ve certainly played better than the Revolution this season. Nevertheless, the team that looked worse on the night found a way to win against Seattle — again.
Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid has reiterated a few times this season that his team has played well but hasn’t gotten results. Luck has certainly not gone the Sounders’ way — injuries, poor penalty decisions, and other factors have definitely altered the outcome of these matches. But at some point, bad luck can’t be blamed. If the Sounders were playing better, they wouldn’t need luck to fall their way.
Soccer is a cruel sport. That’s why Schmid’s idea to soften its edges by bringing video replay in for crucial decisions (penalties, red cards, etc) is understandable, but unlikely right now. Many often say that bad officiating evens out in soccer, but that’s not always true. The Sounders have had a number of terrible penalties called against them this season, but they’ve not really benefited from similarly poor decisions.
This doesn’t matter; a team can’t rely on this quasi-karma to win them trophies. It just doesn’t work that way. What counteracts bad luck? A good team; one that seizes every opportunity that is presented to them. At this point, however, the Sounders are more likely to waste a good chance than to score from it, and again there are no easy solutions. It feels like a mental issue at times, like the team has a collective block about certain parts of the game.
The teams that win championships circumvent luck and plow through the mental blocks. The Colorado Rapids did that when they visited Seattle a week ago — they found a way to victory in the game that they hardly ever looked like they would win. The following week, the Sounders were up against New England, 1-0, yet were unable to find another goal or stop New England’s winner. Sure, the penalty was bad luck and a bad call. But the lack of a second goal from Seattle, and the abhorrent defending that led to New England’s winner, was what lost the game.
In the end, stats don’t matter in soccer. Style doesn’t matter. Looks don’t matter. Winning matters, and the Seattle Sounders are not winning right now. They must shove bad luck to the side and take matters into their own hands in every game. Don’t wait for a foul, don’t sit back after scoring a goal. Grab onto every single match with both hands and do everything possible to win it.