After watching his team fall behind by two goals in the first half, Seattle Sounders FC coach Sigi Schmid was asked by a TV interviewer what he was going to do at halftime.
“I’m going to go yell at them,” he said.
The yelling might have done some good, because Schmid said the Sounders played better over the final 45 minutes. But it couldn’t change the outcome: Seattle lost to Real Salt Lake, 2-1, Saturday before a sellout crowd of 20,359 at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah.
Afterward, the Sounders closed their locker room for a team meeting after falling to 0-3-1 this Major League Soccer season, the worst start in franchise history. Combined with their 1-0 loss at San Jose the week before, it marked the Sounders’ first back-to-back MLS losses since March 19, 2011, ending a 742-day stretch that had been the longest in league history.
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“It’s a combination of things right now, but it’s a very disappointing evening,” Schmid said afterward. “That’s got to be a lot of soul-searching in that locker room and with us as a staff as well.
“We’re picking and choosing times when to play. We’ve got moments in a game where three or four guys are involved and some other guys are not involved. Then some other guys get involved and some other guys are not involved. We have yet to get where 11 guys are involved for 90 minutes all the time.”
RSL (2-2-1) dominated from the start and broke ahead in the eighth minute when Seattle midfielder Brad Evans tried to clear a ball in the box, but smacked it into teammate Osvaldo Alonso. Salt Lake’s Robbie Findley beat goalkeeper Michael Gspurning to the deflected ball and threaded it into the goal.
That lead doubled in the 35th minute, when Ned Grabavoy chipped a short corner kick back to Luis Gil, whose header beat Gspuring to the far post.
Salt Lake had other chances, but the score remained 2-0 when Schmid gave his halftime interview in which he called his team’s performance “horrible, absolutely horrible.”
The Sounders came out with more intensity in the second half, and halved the lead in the 57th minute, when Mauro Rosales touched a DeAndre Yedlin cross back to Evans, who scored off the post from 8 yards.
Both teams had goal opportunities after that, but the score did not change.
“Just not pleased; I’m not pleased with myself,” Schmid said. “I’ve got to start with myself because we didn’t play well at the beginning of the game. It’s a disease right now that’s infecting all of us.”
Salt Lake’s domination on the statistical sheet was greater than on the scoreboard: 25 shots to Seattle’s eight, 10 shots on target to Seattle’s four. Gspurning recorded seven saves, a regular-season career high.
“We’re running out of words at the moment,” Gspurning said. “The first half was embarrassing. There’s just one way to go, and that’s to go forward.”
Designated player Obafemi Martins made his first start with the Sounders, playing 62 minutes. However, designated player Shalrie Joseph was not on the 18-man roster.
The Sounders now turn their attention to the CONCACAF Champions League semifinal series against Santos Laguna, which begins Tuesday at CenturyLink Field.
Seattle’s next MLS match will be April 13, when the New England Revolution visits.
Don Ruiz: 253-597-8808 firstname.lastname@example.org