TUKWILA - Sounders FC threw a party for its new MLS neighbors over the weekend, handing out generous gifts and receiving little in return except a pair of losses by a combined score of 5-2.
The club’s Cascadia Summit concluded Sunday with Vancouver taking advantage of Seattle errors to defeat the Sounders, 3-2, before a sellout crowd of 3,100 at Starfire Sports Stadium.
Then Portland and Vancouver each headed home happy after drawing with each other and beating the Sounders.
Yet when asked if it added up to an embarrassing weekend, coach Sigi Schmid settled on a more productive emotion.
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“No, it’s a motivating weekend,” he said. “It’s not embarrassing. Embarrassing would mean that we’re going to stick our tail between our legs and we’re looking to hide and run away. We’re not looking to hide and run away from anything. So if anything, it serves as motivation for the next time we play them. So it’s a very motivating weekend. It’s motivating for us as a staff to continue to get after it and work hard, and it should be very motivating to the players.”
After surrendering a pair of soft goals Friday against Portland, Seattle gave up three more to the Whitecaps on Sunday – all following defensive blunders.
In the sixth minute, defender Taylor Graham misplayed what appeared to be a routine clearance, and Vancouver forward Omar Salgado ran on and finished wide past goalkeeper Terry Boss.
Six minutes later, midfielder Russell Teibert seemed to flub a cross in front of the Seattle goalmouth. However, Boss dived awkwardly at the soft looper, and the ball trickled off his chest and arm and across the goal line.
Vancouver’s final goal – which proved to be the game-winner – came in the 47th minute when Boss got caught far away from his goal.
The Whitecaps sent the ball into the box where defender Patrick Ianni cleared it, but Vancouver’s Camilo Sanvezzo drilled it back into the still untended net.
Seattle’s goals came from Roger Levesque in first-half stoppage time and from Miguel Montaño in the 77th minute.
“If you guys wait 10 minutes until after the interview, I’ll have gifts for everybody since we’re handing out gifts to everybody as a team right now,” Schmid told media after the game. “It’s disappointing when you give up the goals that we gave up, because I don’t think they were goals that were earned to a certain extent. ... Maybe we’re getting all of this out of our system before the season starts, because it is cyclical, it all ends up evening out at the end of the day. So if we’re having a bad run now, we’ll have a good run at some other time.”
The time for that is drawing near.
Today, the Sounders (4-4-2 in preseason) will begin their final full week of training before the regular season. And the club also hopes to receive a prognosis on forward Michael Fucito, who went out with a leg injury in the first half Sunday.
They will meet MLS Cup champion Colorado at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Qwest Field in their final training game before the MLS First Kick game March 15 against the Los Angeles Galaxy.
“You continue to train, you continue to work hard,” Schmid said. “You could get rid of some players or trade some players; but at this stage, I believe in the group we have, I think the group we have sitting in the locker room is a good group, it’s a talented group, and I think it’s a group that’s capable of playing good soccer. Right now, we haven’t shown it. We’ve made some woeful mistakes. I think they’ll be the first ones to admit that. But they need to step out the next time and show that our belief in the group is warranted.”
Disappointing as the weekend was on the pitch, Sounders general manager Adrian Hanauer said he was pleased with the Cascadia Summit as a whole.
“I thought it was a great event as a first effort,” he said. “Certainly, we’ll talk about whether it becomes an annual event. We’ll obviously do a little debrief this week, but the fans had fun, no real incidents, some good soccer, some good interaction. I thought it went well.”
Don Ruiz: 253-597-8808 firstname.lastname@example.org twitter/donruiztnt blog.thenewstribune.com/soccer