SANDY, Utah – The tongue-lashing that Sounders FC coach Sigi Schmid gave his team in the locker room following a 1-0 loss to Real Salt Lake on Saturday night might merely be a sample of what lies ahead for the players in the coming week.
“I’m not looking forward to Monday (and) Tuesday, because I’ve got a feeling they are going to be pretty hard,” Sounders goalkeeper Kasey Keller said. “But you lose a couple of games that you shouldn’t, and you expect the punishment the next day.”
Schmid’s voice could be heard through the closed locker room doors immediately after the game.
He said he voiced his displeasure with his team’s effort, specifically on the play that led to the game’s only goal – scored by Real Salt Lake’s Robbie Findley on a long outlet pass from goalkeeper Nick Rimando in the 62nd minute.
“I’m not happy with how they performed,” Schmid said. “It’s one thing for the opponent to beat you, it’s another thing for you to make a silly mistake. Some guys tried to get away with not putting as much effort in as they needed to. When I see a lack of effort, that bothers me.”
Findley beat Sounders midfielder Peter Vagenas to the ball and sent a shot to the right of a diving Keller into the side of the net. It was Findley’s eighth goal of the season and kept the Sounders (7-5-8) winless in their past eight road games, dating to their only road victory April 4 at Toronto.
“Some people weren’t in the positions they were supposed to be in, and we got caught sleeping a little bit,” said Keller, referring to the goal. “Those things just can’t happen. We’ve got too much experience on this team to let stupid things like that happen.”
Defenders Leo Gonzalez, Brad Evans and Jhon Kennedy Hurtado patrolled the middle of the field for most of the game for Seattle.
“At the end of the day,” said Schmid, “we should have walked away 0-0 at the very worst.”
It is the Sounders’ offense that has been at its worst lately. Saturday’s shutout extended their scoreless streak to 314 minutes, the second-longest drought in the league this season. The Sounders last scored in the 46th minute of a 2-1 victory over Houston on July 25.
Real Salt Lake (7-8-5) has the longest scoreless streak of the season, ending a 350-minute drought in May. Seattle also went 267 minutes without a goal during April.
“We had it before in the season, then we kind of exploded,” midfielder Steve Zakuani said. “One goes in, and the rest goes in. Sometimes it becomes more mental than anything. If you keep missing and missing, then you believe it’s not going to go in. But once you get one or two, your confidence comes back.”
The Sounders’ lone shot on goal was by Osvaldo Alonso in the 35th minute.
“We’re disappointed,” midfielder Freddie Ljungberg said. “It goes in waves. Sometimes you score a lot, and sometimes you won’t score. You just have to keep feeding them, and they will score.
“We had a slow game today. We passed the ball too slow, and you won’t create so many chances when you pass the ball slowly.”
The defeat dropped the Sounders (29 points) from second to fourth place in the MLS Western Conference after wins Saturday by Los Angeles (31 points) and Colorado (30).
The Sounders play six of their final 10 league matches away from home.
“You can’t get outworked by the opponent, especially if they’re home,“ Keller said. “If you have any chance away from home, you have to be, first of all, extremely disciplined and, second of all, you have to work extremely hard and aggressive.
“We got outworked, (and) I thought they were more aggressive. If those two things happen, you better be real good, and we weren’t today.”
Real Salt Lake improved to 6-1-3 at Rio Tinto Stadium, which hosted an announced crowd of 14,193 Saturday.