Sounders FC goalkeeper Bryan Meredith started his Major League Soccer career with a shutout streak of 275 minutes.
In the 220 minutes that have followed, however, he and the Sounders have allowed five goals, including two in their 2-0 home loss to Columbus on Wednesday.
After that game, coach Sigi Schmid was clear the second goal got in due to goalkeeper error – and specifically an error of inexperience.
“(Emilio) Renteria hits a good goal, but a goal that you’ve got to realize (came from) a bouncing ball,” Schmid said. “You’ve got to maybe get a little closer to your line as a goalkeeper because when it’s bouncing you know that’s a possibility. You can’t get caught off your line.”
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In the locker room, Meredith accepted the blame, but also noted that 30-yard shots arching into the back of the net weren’t common occurrences while playing at Monmouth University or as a rookie last season with the Kitsap Pumas of the Premier Development League.
“That’s a tough goal,” Meredith said. “… A little scramble, he wins the ball and just strikes it first-time. I’m definitely not expecting him to hit that first-time. I don’t think any of us were. But he hit it well. If I could have just dropped back a little quicker, I think it would have been an easier save, rather than a goal.”
The Sounders returned to training Thursday, quickly turning attention to their MLS match Saturday at Chivas USA.
Schmid also tweaked his comments about the second goal a bit, emphasizing the quality of the strike and the natural growing process for “a good, young goalkeeper.”
Teammates also stood by Meredith.
“He’s obviously playing for a reason,” midfielder Brad Evans said. “He’s been solid when he has come in, and there’s no reason to get down. You’re going to take goals. You’re not going to go the whole season without taking goals. The first one was just maybe a little bit of a (defensive) miscue; the second was just one of those that comes out of nowhere.”
No. 1 goalkeeper Michael Gspurning is expected to miss another week or two with a hip injury. Schmid said the veteran keeper could return in time for the Sounders’ fourth-round U.S. Open Cup match June 5, assuming the club advances past Atlanta on Wednesday. If not, the Sounders expect Gspurning to be ready for the MLS match at Montreal on June 16.
In the meantime, Schmid expressed confidence in Meredith, while also indicating that playing time for veteran reserve keeper Andrew Weber remains under consideration.
“Unfortunately, he had that little bit of setback with the ankle injury about the same time (as Gspurning’s injury) so Meredith got his nose in front there,” Schmid said. “But he’s training hard. He had a good training session (Thursday), and that’s something that we always discuss when we discuss the lineup.”
Defender Adam Johansson suffered a hamstring injury in the Columbus game. Results of a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) test weren’t revealed, but Schmid said Johansson is not expected to be available this weekend. … Sounders FC U-23 makes its home debut at 7:30 tonight, facing the Victoria Highlanders at Franklin Pierce High School.