Sounders FC has begun its new season with 180 scoreless minutes.
In its Major League Soccer opener, Seattle suffered a 1-0 home loss to Montreal, and followed that with a 1-0 road loss to Tigres in the opening match of their CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal series.
“I think against Montreal we created a couple of opportunities,” coach Sigi Schmid said. “Even against Tigres there were a couple of good opportunities. ... But we just haven’t been dangerous enough consistently. And we need to have effective play in the wide areas of the field as well, and I don’t think we’ve been as effective as we can be. But we’re still getting our rhythm … and it will get better.”
The Sounders’ CCL lives will depend on producing at least one goal Tuesday, when the quarterfinal series resolves at CenturyLink Field. Seattle has to make up that one goal, but its offensive burden multiplies with any Tigres score, as away goals are the first tiebreaker.
Tigres not only outscored the Sounders in the Wednesday opener, but also outshot them, 18-3. The Mexican side also put seven shots on goal to Seattle’s two.
“We have to do a better job of possessing the ball,” Schmid said. “If we possess the ball better, hold on to the ball more, we make them adjust to us a little bit more.
“And the second thing is we have to do a better job of putting pressure on them, and so we have the opportunity to recover the ball.”
The Sounders are playing their first season without career goals leader Fredy Montero, who is away on loan. In preseason, players and coaches said they hoped to make up those lost goals through increased attacking speed, more direct play and additional production from midfielders.
In its first two matches, Seattle moved midfielder Mauro Rosales to forward alongside Eddie Johnson, who provided a club-record 14 goals last season.
The only other forwards on the roster are David Estrada, who is recovering from an ankle injury, and Sammy Ochoa. Seattle also is working to bring in another proven goal-scorer with its open designated player slot.
In the meantime, Johnson believes the current group is capable of scoring goals.
“In the first game we created chances,” he said. “Then we went down against the best team in Mexico and we came out with a 1-0 deficit. For me, it’s all about putting my chances away. I’m getting my opportunities, so I’m not frustrated. If I wasn’t getting them it would be a completely different story.”
Sounders FC announced that about 16,000 tickets have been sold for the Tigres match on Tuesday. “(Playing at home is) a great advantage for us,” Schmid said. “We hope our fans turn out in big numbers. We have an opportunity here to advance to the semifinals.” ... Estrada, Steve Zakuani (ankle) and Adam Johansson (knee) trained Friday. Schmid said their availability for Tuesday will be influenced by how they feel when the club returns to practice Sunday. ... After watching replays, Schmid said he believes offside should have been called on Tigres’ winning goal. A Tigres player was clearly behind the last Seattle defender, but the referee decided he did not influence the play. Schmid disagreed with that interpretation, and he explains his reasoning at length at blog.thenewstribune.com/soccer.