As the last open space in Seattle that isn’t being developed into high-rise condos, Xbox Pitch at CenturyLink Field is valuable property.
There’s even a small space here, in fact, that is going totally unused: The opponent’s goal.
At 24 feet wide, with an 8-foot ceiling, it might be better getting turned into a loft apartment or the like (Nice ventilation, no traffic).
Once again, the Seattle Sounders failed to score a goal on Saturday. As the MLS team with the fewest goals (14 in 17 games), Sounders FC fell, 1-0, to the visiting Los Angeles Galaxy and solidified their hold on the Western Conference basement.
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A stubbornly supportive crowd of 40,813 stood and cheered the entire game for a team that hasn’t scored a home goal since May 7. They are fervent and faithful, and deserve better from their team.
The Sounders are confounding to everyone involved. They played Saturday with good energy and intent ... to a sad result.
“Our team left everything on the field,” coach Sigi Schmid said. “They battled, they fought. I certainly can not fault them for their effort, their character and their play.”
The return of star Clint Dempsey from the U.S. national team was seen as the possible spark to ignite the Sounders’ offense.
And Dempsey’s to be given credit for a number of exciting near-goals. See, when you can’t score, you have to start taking solace in your best misses.
The Sounders ended up with 22 shots to L.A.’s seven, but didn’t score. They had the ball half a dozen times or more with truly threatening chances, but didn’t score.
They controlled possession time. And lost the game.
Despite nonstop effort, nobody rose up to make a big play.
The Galaxy is far from a great team. At 7-3-8, they don’t win much more than the Sounders (5-10-2), but they lose a lot less. There’s something to be said about the capacity to scratch out draws instead of ending up with defeats.
In contrast, once the Sounders went down 1-0 in the 15th minute, the game seemed decided.
Dempsey had a couple chances in the second half, and rookie Jordan Morris got loose for a shot with LA goalkeeper Brian Rowe out of position, but Galaxy defenseman A.J. DeLaGarza came up with an awkward kick-save to preserve the lead.
In a big moment, somebody came up with a play. It’s the kind of timely play the Sounders aren’t getting.
“All you can ask for a team is to create chances, to fight and battle and to work smart for each other, to help teammates be better,” Schmid said. “We did all that, and we came away with nothing.”
Those qualities, he said, are the things that convince him the Sounders will get their season turned around.
Given the struggles, questions arise whether the problems are a matter of talent or coaching. I’ll be honest, I don’t cover enough soccer to speak with authority on the matter.
Tactics, schemes, motivation — I have a hard time judging Schmid on those. The standings and results are pretty damning at the moment, though.
I’ll just point out a sign that can’t be good. At one point in his postgame interview, Schmid went into a hypothetical scenario that involved an alien coming to Earth from Mars, and watching the game without knowing the score.
Who would the alien think had won the game?
I know this, when a coach starts reaching so far for ways to explain or disclaim defeats, the losses are on the verge of getting out of control.
The Sounders played hard and well everywhere but near the goal. And the redoubtable fans cheered to the rhythm of beating drums all afternoon.
Between the players and fans, then, there were a couple hours of kicking and screaming, but once again no scoring.
It just all seemed like so much wasted effort.