The hope is some rest and refocusing will cure what ails Seattle Sounders FC after a winless streak hit three games.
The next game against the Colorado Rapids isn’t until Saturday, so the team will get the next two days off for a physical and mental break.
“We’ve had a really bad week,” Nicolas Lodeiro said.
In the 23rd minute Federico Navarro launched the ball toward Rafael Czichos, who headed it into the top corner. Chicago Fire FC went on to a 1-0 victory Saturday at Soldier Field.
Sounders goalkeeper Stefan Cleveland did what he could. In the 18th minute, he made a booming stop at close range on Kacper Przybylko, then kept a watchful eye on the ball as it bobbled around the box.
Chicago’s Gaston Gimenez connected with Brian Gutierrez, who nearly doubled the lead on a breakaway. The Sounders needed a quick decision and got it as Cleveland made a kick save.
“I thought Stefan was really good,” Sounders head coach Brian Schmetzer said. “I don’t fault him for the goal. I don’t think he could have prevented that.”
Jordan Morris forced Chicago’s Gabriel Slonina to make fingertip save in the eighth minute. After Chicago scored, Cristian Roldan remained on his feet while being spun around and would have had an open shot if he’d arrived there first, but Slonina beat him to it.
Seattle has gone three straight games without a goal and dropped four of five. It fell 3-0 against the Portland Timbers July 9 and 1-0 against Nashville SC on Wednesday.
With the help of a translator, Lodeiro said he sensed frustration and uncertainty as the season moved on with “less and less time to turn things around.” He said this isn’t the same team that won the CONCACAF Champions League in early May.
“We addressed it after the game. There’s 14 games left, which seems like a long time, but it’s really not,” Schmetzer added.
“We also talked about pressure. About how when things aren’t going well, you have to step forward. You have to not be afraid to change your mindset and do things a little bit differently.”
The Sounders cleaned up the giveaways and slow recoveries that caused problems early in the game. But at the end of the first half, they had just one shot on target to Chicago’s four.
Schmetzer pointed to fatigue and, to some extent, lack of confidence.
“Some of the technical aspects of our sports, they’re lacking or they’re missing. I can’t tell you how many passes and balls and final movements that we missed in that first half,” Schmetzer said.
Jairo Torres tested Cleveland during the second half, but was denied in close. Soon after, Morris tried to settle a ball but ran into the legs of Slonina and went flying.
Morris got the Sounders’ last chance to tie it. He was well covered but got a shot off in the 88th minute.
“Now we have an opportunity to reset and we’ve got a home game,” Cleveland said. “That’s an opportunity where we need to get three points.
“Put this week behind us, learn from it. There’s nothing we can change about it.”
Seattle’s Will Bruin made his 300th career MLS regular-season appearance, the 14th active player to hit the milestone. Stefan Frei (health and safety protocols), João Paulo (ACL tear), Raúl Ruidíaz (hamstring strain) and Obed Vargas (lower back stress fracture) missed the match.
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