Sounders FC

Sound of distress in Seattle

The worst home loss in Sounders FC history went into the books Saturday, but repercussions are still ahead.

Changes are coming, coach Sigi Schmid said after watching what he called his toughest loss in Seattle.

The first goal came on an error by a normally dependable player.

The second was well-earned by an unbeaten opponent.

But by the time the third and fourth goals were tacked on to what ended as a 4-0 loss to the Los Angeles Galaxy, Schmid made it clear that his patience had run out with some of his players.

“It’s not time to panic, but it is time for some people to wake up and for character to step forward,” Schmid said. “When you’re down 2-, 3-nothing, people have to step up and show what they’re made of. There are some guys that we’ve asked repeatedly to do some things. It hasn’t been coming, so there are some changes that are going to be made as a result.”

Although the Sounders’ defense was shredded Saturday, Schmid’s greatest frustrations seemed directed at his offense, which has scored one goal over the past three games.

“Guys have to be willing to sacrifice their body in the box,” he said. “I don’t need six playmakers. I need somebody who can frickin’ get in the box and wants to score goals. That’s what we need.”

Seattle had come into the game with hopes of handing the Galaxy its first loss, and using that result to turn a slow-starting season in the right direction.

Those hopes lasted for 21 minutes as the Sounders controlled the run of play and had the best chances.

But then L.A. forward Jovan Kirovski launched a routine-seeming shot. With about 20 yards to study it, goalkeeper Kasey Keller put a hand to the ball but failed to knock it off of its path to the net.

“It swirled on me, but the ball swirls every time it comes at you, so there’s no excuse,” Keller said. “It moved, and I didn’t react in time. It’s as simple as that. ... I can only hold my hand up, apologize for the first goal.”

The Sounders went into the locker room down only that one goal. However, even that was no small thing, as the Galaxy had conceded only two goals all season.

The hill got steeper in the 52nd minute when Omar Gonzalez headed a corner kick by Landon Donovan, who finished with three assists, into the near-top corner.

Then came the avalanche. Five minutes later, Todd Dunivant finished a ball that sailed untouched through Sounders Peter Vagenas and James Riley. Ten minutes later, Donovan knocked in a cross from Edson Buddle, who had beaten the Sounders defense to a ball along the touchline.

“The third goal was inexcusable,” Schmid said. “Two guys let the ball slip past them. That’s inexcusable. Everybody’s looking at the other guy hoping that they do the job for them. You’ve got to take care of the business yourself and not hope that somebody does the job for them. And after that, we were ducks in a shooting gallery.”

The final result matched the worst defeat suffered by the club, duplicating a 4-0 loss last season at San Jose.

It stands alone as the club’s worst home loss, and marked the most goals surrendered on their home pitch.

And it all played out before the Sounders’ largest home crowd for an MLS match: 36,273.

“To disappoint the fans does not feel good,” forward Steve Zakuani said. “You shouldn’t be doing that at home.”

However, the Sounders also disappointed their coach.

And Schmid implied that some of them may not be around to disappoint him again Saturday, when the Sounders visit Eastern Conference-leading New York.

“We compete for spots every week,” Schmid said. “I’ve given some guys a longer leash than others. That leash just tore today.”

Don Ruiz: 253-597-8808 don.ruiz@thenewstribune.com blog.thenewstribune.com/soccer

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