Desperate measures time?

don.ruiz@thenewstribune.comOctober 11, 2013 

At this time last week, Seattle Sounders FC had allowed 29 goals over its 29 games.

Now the Sounders have allowed 38 goals over 31 games, after back-to-back losses of 5-1 at Colorado on Saturday and 4-1 at home to Vancouver on Wednesday.

Goalkeeper Michael Gspurning began October with a 1.02 goals-against average. Two games later, it’s up to 1.28.

“I’m not going to single out Michael or single out anybody,” coach Sigi Schmid said after the latest loss. “There’s nobody that’s coming up with plays right now. We need to make plays.”

At Colorado, Gspurning started behind a back line of DeAndre Yedlin on the right, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado and Zach Scott in the center, and Marc Burch on the left. Against Vancouver, Djimi Traore filled in for Scott, who was serving the first of a two-game suspension for card accumulation.

Schmid indicated his dissatisfaction with all of them – plus one.

“We had hoped to start (central defender Patrick) Ianni this game, and then he came up with a leg injury,” Schmid said Wednesday. “And then all of a sudden today he was better, but by that time we’d already made the decision who we were going to play in the back. He came in and I thought he played well; but he’s got to be ready to go, too, at the beginning, not might-be hurt.”

The players don’t seem to have a rock-solid answer for their coach.

“I think it’s just one of those times where guys are falling apart, I guess,” Yedlin said. “It’s just one of those things where everybody has to come together. I’m not really seeing anything different than what we’ve been doing previously. We’re just losing our focus. It starts from us in the back. … That’s on us. We’ve got to do a lot better.”

Schmid again stressed his willingness to change personnel in an effort to make something happen.

However, his options might be limited. Scott’s suspension leaves him unavailable again Sunday, when the Sounders return to action at Portland. Left back Leo Gonzalez has missed three straight games with a hip injury – with the club allowing 10 goals in his absence. Brad Evans, who generally plays as a midfielder for Seattle but is a starting defender for the U.S. national team, will miss one more game while on duty with U.S. team.

The most dramatic move would be a change at goalkeeper, where Gspurning has started every game when healthy. But waiting in the wings is veteran Marcus Hahnemann, who has allowed one goal in two starts – both wins.

Schmid said all moves will be considered, but the problem reaches beyond any single player or area of the field.

Gspurning saw it that way, too. He took individual blame for the final Vancouver goal but also noted that he was forced into one-on-one situations on the first three.

“We were not tight enough,” he said. “It’s so many things, I can talk maybe a half an hour here. As a whole group, we failed – in both games – from No. 1 (himself) to the strikers.”


Sounders goals leader Eddie Johnson has been removed from the U.S. national team’s training roster after suffering a groin strain Wednesday.

Johnson was scheduled to undergo a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) test Thursday. The results were not yet available.

Johnson was replaced on the U.S. roster by forward Chris Wondolowski of the San Jose Earthquakes.

Team USA, which already has earned a spot in the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, will continue play in the qualifying round against Jamaica at 3:30 p.m. Friday at Kansas City, Kan.

Don Ruiz: 253-597-8808 @donruiztnt

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