TUKWILA, Wash. – The wait between games is harder some weeks than others. And following the worst defeat in franchise history – Sunday’s 5-0 loss at New England – the Sounders seemingly couldn’t get back on the field quickly enough.
“You have to remember the lesson and kind of forget the event,” said forward/midfielder Lamar Neagle.
Winning is the best and perhaps only cure, and Seattle will look to put things right and stay atop the MLS standings in tonight’s home game against the San Jose Earthquakes.
Some of the Sounders, motivated to prove the last result was an outlier, couldn’t be peeled off the practice field this week, according to coach Sigi Schmid.
“Everyone who’s competitive, it eats at you,” Schmid said.
“We just have to know which team we are. Are we the team that played the first 10 games or are we the team that played the 11th game? I think we’re the team that played the first 10 games. I still have a lot of faith in the group, and they have faith in themselves.”
That faith also applies to the quality of Seattle’s depth, with a trio of key starters away with the U.S. national team in a pre-World Cup training camp: leading scorer Clint Dempsey, captain Brad Evans and starting defender DeAndre Yedlin.
Schmid said the remaining Sounders should “smell the blood in the water” as it relates to the opportunity for playing time. Players like Kenny Cooper, Chad Barrett and Jalil Anibaba, who have been mainly been reserves, are candidates to assume larger roles.
San Jose’s roster has been similarly affected with top scorer Chris Wondolowski and starting defender Clarence Goodson in USMNT camp. The Earthquakes’ issues, though, extend far beyond that – so much so that the visitors just might struggle to dress a full team of 18.
San Jose’s Victor Bernardez, a former MLS Defender of the Year finalist, has been suspended Saturday for a reckless play last week against Dallas.
Also suspended is midfielder Shea Salinas, who had played nearly every minute this season before being issued a red card Saturday in the Dallas game.