Five thoughts from Sounders’ frustrating bond with LA Galaxy

SEATTLE — It may not be a full-blown crisis, but the Seattle Sounders’ alarm bells are definitely ringing.

Thanks to some help from Minnesota United over the weekend, the Sounders got into Monday night’s game, with LA Galaxy once again in control of their own destiny. Again they couldn’t seize the moment. A 1-1 draw – which head coach Brian Schmetzer felt felt like a loss – temporarily lifted the Sounders to the top of the Western Conference, but the result and performance won’t make anyone feel good about their chances of staying there. Not only will Sporting KC play their game in hand against Austin FC on Wednesday, but the Sounders have a road game against the rising Vancouver Whitecaps to close out the regular season on Sunday.

Failure to capitalize was a theme this year and it was fully on display against the Galaxy, as were the troubles that plagued the Sounders in their five-game winless run. A slow start, sloppy defensive play, injuries and some unlucky luck all played their part in not getting all three points. That the Sounders have long earned a place in the playoffs and a home game in the first round has provided some breathing room. However, if they can’t pull out of this funk, it could be a shortened postseason run.

Here are five things we still remember from the game:

Jordan Morris’s return had been more of a slow burn as he spent the better part of two months training with the Sounders. The anticipation had reached the fireworks factory anticipation level after a couple of false starts in the past two games. But Schmetzer was sure Morris would face the Galaxy, and 60 minutes into the game, the moment everyone had been waiting for since his fall with an ACL injury in February. Greeted with a rousing ovation (and a classy acknowledgment from fellow USMNT regular Sebastian Lleget), Morris finally got on the field, and while it may not have been the fairytale ending, most importantly, he looked a lot like his old self. Morris certainly passed the eye test from a speed and work speed perspective, but after the match was conceded his touch and timing were a bit off. He gets one more game to get the rust out and build his fitness for longer minutes into the playoffs.

The day after a Halloween weekend is pretty horrifying for anyone, whether you’re up into the wee hours with friends, or preventing your kids (or yourself) from diving face down into a bag of super-sized M&Ms. The sugar crash could be real, which could explain why the Sounders looked so lethargic against the Galaxy for the first 45 minutes. To be sure, other than a well-crafted set piece from the Galaxy (more on that later), Greg Vanney’s side hasn’t created much. But if the Galaxy didn’t quite deserve the lead, the Sounders certainly didn’t. Kelyn Rowe said after the game that it took the Sounders 45 minutes to adjust to what the Galaxy was doing, which he said was about 40 minutes too long. In the end, the Sounders were able to create chances by going more direct and attacking Galaxy’s suspicious backline, and they were much more effective in the second half.

The first half was frankly a dull affair for both sides, but the Galaxy managed to take the lead thanks to their one and only danger man on the pitch: Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez. In the 19th minute, Chicharto found himself unmarked on a corner after Nicholas DePuy headed the ball to his feet and sent it past Stefan Frei from close range. Formerly a strength for the Sounders, fixed-point defending has been anything but this past month, even though Schmetzer said the team has been working specifically on the issues. Whether the Sounders need to change their zonal marking tendencies or work on their mindset, as Rowe said after the game, they’ll have to act quickly.

It must seem like the Sounders will never get well. With Jordan Morris and Nicolas Lodeiro – making it through the 75 minutes on their own with no apparent problems – the Sounders were so close to a healthy selection. Unfortunately, both Raúl Ruidíaz and Nouhou had to get out of the game, with Nouhou giving the Sounders only 45 minutes. Suddenly the Sounders are very skinny, both forward and left back, with Will Bruin and Jimmy Medranda status also up in the air. The upcoming international break usually cuts both ways for teams, as the two-week interlude usually results in teams not being completely on their toes in their first game, but Schmetzer will certainly take that risk in exchange for getting some of his own healthy. most important pieces.

Assuming the Sounders are able to correct some of their defensive problems and get reasonably healthy for the playoffs, the final piece of the puzzle will be bringing the returning talent into the squad so that there is an effective, coherent offensive force. is. In the second half, in particular, the Sounders showed glimpses of the potential they had to move forward, and were unlucky enough not to take all three points thanks to unkind rebounds off the post and a full-fledged save from Galaxy goalkeeper Jonathan Bond in the Last Minutes. But the attack was generally incoherent, even as reinforcements came in. Schmetzer said after the game that the only advantage of the international break would be the training time they have to work on figuring out the best tactics and formations to put the players in the positions to be successful, and apart from the fact that he has time to getting players back from injury, he’s certainly right.

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