BY Stanley Holmes 11:02PM 05/25/2011

Holmes: Sounders lack imagination and a goal

Late push by the Sounders’ substitutes wasn’t enough to square things with FC Dallas. Seattle’s 1-0 loss left it with just four points over a three-match homestand.

Sounders Forward Mike Fucito nearly scores in Wednesday's 1-0 loss to FC Dallas. / Drew McKenzie, Sportspress Northwest

Three minutes. Three opportunities. No goals.

That pretty much sums up a disappointing night for the Sounders, who lost 1-0 to FC Dallas before 36,026 fans at a soggy Qwest Field on Wednesday night.

But Sounders forward Mike Fucito was so agonizingly close to scoring those three times. In a span of 180 seconds, he fired a right-footed blast from the top of the 18-yard box, then he headed his next attempt inside the six-yard box, and he tried to poke in the rebound.

Nothing found the back of the net. It didn’t help that Dallas keeper Kevin Hartman was up to the task. The veteran keeper made several fantastic saves to deny Fucito and his teammates.

Fucito was one of the few bright spots in a lackluster Sounders attack. Other big-name players, notably forward Fredy Montero, couldn’t produce when it mattered. Montero was benched in the second half. And Seattle’s defense gave up a goal in the 18th minute — the only time Dallas shot on frame in the first half.

Following the match, Sounders coach Sigi Schmid was visibly frustrated.

“The soccer was better but everybody is disappointed with the result,” Schmid said. “I thought we had chances and we certainly went forward. I was certainly pleased with the effort of Fucito. I thought he played very well.

“I thought (Mauro) Rosales had some moments. I thought (Erik) Friberg had some moments. Guys do need to step up.  They need to step up and score goals when we get a chance.”

It appears Schmid is growing impatient with Montero’s lack of goals. He was not happy with the designated player’s performance.

“He needs to score,” Schmid said. “End of story. That’s what he’s paid to do. He needs to score. He’s a good enough player. He knows that. He can play make, he can set things up. It’s a difficult task but that’s the task at hand.”

Montero said the opportunities were lacking and that contributed to his inability to score tonight.

Though Fucito didn’t score, either, he was certainly trying. He pushed the front line all night, particularly in the second half. He constantly threatened with his speed, hustle and desire to make something happen.

“I thought we were going to get one,” Fucito said. “The volley at the top of the box was close. (Hartman) got his hand just on the volley and on the header. They were two pretty good saves.”

But while the soccer may have been marginally better than the victory over Sporting Kansas City and the draw against the Portland Timbers, something was still missing. Much of Seattle’s attack was disjointed and uneven. No one could create any sustained offensive momentum. There were plenty of bright starts, moments of opportunity, and effort from all over the pitch.

But no goals.

The telling first-half stat underlines a hard reality: the Sounders directed one shot on goal and created only a couple dangerous chances.

Seattle picked it up in the second half. Led by Fucito, who fired five shots (three on goal) the Sounders shot 15 times in the second half and directed five on target. The quality of the finishing and the quality of the final ball still lacked something special.

Worse, playing catch-up is predictable for defenders. All Dallas had to do was sit back and wait — and foul. Dallas committed 12 fouls to Seattle’s four and picked its moment to counter, which was infrequent. The Sounders had nine corner kicks to just two for FC Dallas.

Rosales and Friberg, both starting in the midfield, worked the right side in the second half. That gave the Dallas defense fits. Montero set up Rosales, who should have scored, and of course Fucito was nearly a one-man band, trying to will the ball into the back of the net.

Schmid subbed Roger Levesque for Alvaro Fernandez, Nate Jaqua for Montero and Lamar Neagle for Rosales late in the game. Jaqua and Neagle worked hard and had an influence as the Sounders pressed Dallas at the end. But no one could create the quality needed to penetrate Dallas’ defense, which remained compact and impervious to Seattle shots.

“They did a good job defensively, blocking crosses and putting a lot of guys in the box,” Jaqua said. “Credit their defense.”

Seattle completes this three-game home stand with only four points. It travels to Utah Saturday to take on Real Salt Lake.

“We’re not happy about the fact we only got four points in three games at home,” Schmid said. “We need 11 guys on the field who are all going to fight and battle at the same time and who are going to make good decisions.”

Or, as Fucito said: “In the end, we just have to put one in the net.”


  • John Cox

    Possession without goals doesn’t win games:

  • Travis

    “Schmid subbed Roger Levesque for Alvaro Fernandez, Nate Jaqua for Montero and Lamar Neagle for Rosales late in the game. Jaqua and Neagle worked hard and had an influence”

    What a shock, three subs were made, yet only two had any influence, the one who did not… Levesque.

    Also, Montero was subbed off in the 75′, not sure that would be considered “benched.” It appeared Sigi subbed in preparation of Saturday’s game. I hate that. Win the game you’re playing, then worry about Saturday, especially when your current game is home, and the next game in on the road, to a top team.

    I thought Montero, Fucito & Flaco had very active 1st halves. Then Montero & Fucito sort of disappeared for the first 20 minutes of the 2nd. Montero then got subbed out, and Fucito picked up the energy again.

    Ozzie looked fantastic. He was everywhere trying to make things happen. Sure, he wasn’t prefect, but, considering how much of the ball he had, he did a lot more good than bad.

  • ivan

    Dallas had George John on the back line and Brek Shea dropped back on defense. Those are two big dudes. Montero and Fucito looked like a couple of hobbits next to them. Seattle needs to pony up the dough for a big, strong, athletic center forward who can outmuscle people, win balls in the air, and go around defenders.

    In short, they need Kenwyne Jones, of Stoke City. 

  • sitka

    It’s a young man’s game; these guys (Neagle, Carrasco, Montano, Montero)
    should ALL be on the pitch together! C’mon Sigi, stop running the 18
    using college nickel and dime psych. Bury Levesque low on the 18, say
    good bye to that giraffe Jacqua. Loyalty should be to the TEAM as a
    whole! Oh yeah, I’m gonna keep beating the drum for KLINSMAN!!!!

  • Michael Kaiser

    Ya, baseball has become so watered down.  If anything they should go back in the direction of one division or two divisions in each league and also scrap the interleague play entirely.  It just feels like a gimmick, which I guess it is.  Pretty soon mlb is going to be like the NBA with a team having to try just to not make the playoffs and the season will run from February to Christmas. 

  • Asdfas

    I always regret reading the comment sections…

  • Cruddly

    Carrol looked upset at his press conference and during the game — especially in the 4th quarter, where at one point you could see him tying to scold and console Browner at the same time.  A lot of  people are pining for a coach like Holgren, who had no problem chewing out players.   But others point out that at the same point in their careers with the Seahawks, Holmgren and Carrol share the same win loss records.  It’s the penalties, the argument goes, that indicate Carrol’s mellow approach is causing this careless, undisciplined approach to the game by his players that ultimately result in penalties.    
    Most of the people who believe this still cling to the hope that their big daddy figure, Holmgren will dissolve his relationship with Cleveland,  comeback and save the Seahawks from themselves.  They long for his  emphasis on the offense.  They want to return to the soft, bend but don’t break defenses of the Holmgren era.  For these guys,10 years of Holmgren was not enough.  They want him back before he succumbs to diabetes or stroke or one of the other disabling conditions that men of his girth and age often fall prey to. 
    While I wouldn’t mind having him come back and raise the 12th man banner one day, I would really like to give Carrol and his guys a chance before checking out other coaching philosophies.  Besides, they got a tough guy on the sidelines — Cable.  Check him out sometime during a game.  Has his attitude stopped the linemen from committing less infractions?

  • 3 Lions

    They are immature, just like there coach. Obviously, making alot of money doesn’t equate to having any brains. They seemed to be more concerned w swagger than winning.

  • Steve56

    The bottom line issue is coaching or the lack thereof.  Yes, a young and relatively inexperienced roster including an injured/marginal quarterback are issues, but the lack of discipline, the repeated mistakes made game after game all point to a bigger problem.

  • Bayviewherb

    We see it in college ball and even in the pros. Get a lead into the 4th quarter, then play defense on offense. From that point on, Washington played not to lose, not playing as they got there with agressive offense. That strategy of runnng the clock only served to give the ball back to the other team so they had a chance to make a big play. They did, and so did Washington. It was a coaching loss, not players.