The way things are going, the Seattle Sounders' season may remembered as before and after Tukwila. Their season has not been the same since the ill-fated U.S. Open Cup game against the Portland
Timbers. Even the return of Clint Dempsey
for the first time since June 13 could not stop the Sounders' slide as they dropped a 3-0 decision to the Vancouver
Whitecaps before 53,125 fans, the largest crowd of the season at CenturyLink Field.
Seattle was 9-4-2 and leading the Supporters' Shield race after it beat FC Dallas on June 13. Three
days later, Dempsey was sent off for tearing up referee Daniel Radford
's notebook and Martins was injured in their U.S. Open Cup loss to the Timbers at
the Starfire Sports Complex in suburban Tukwila. Dempsey was suspended and missed the next three MLS games and then went off on national team duty for the Gold Cup. Martins has not played since with a
The Sounders went 1-6-0 without Dempsey and Martins, and Saturday's loss made it 1-7-0 in their last eight games and dropped them under .500 to 10-11-2. They are now in
sixth place, their hopes of defending the Supporters' Shield a distant memory as they have fallen nine points off the pace.
Friday's practice was Dempsey's first with the Sounders since
the end of the Gold Cup -- he had to fly to Colorado for the AT&T MLS All-Star Game -- and played with newcomers Erik Friberg
for the first time. Seattle coach Sigi Schmid
was hoping August would bring a change in fortunes for the Sounders, but he said he never
thought Dempsey's first game back would be easy.
“I tried to caution people who thought, ‘OK everybody is back so it will be snap of the fingers and it’s going to all
happen again,'" he said. "That’s not the way it works. You’ve got to get players back to playing again and on the same page. Friberg has never played with Dempsey before, today is his
first game playing with Clint -- we tried him in a slightly different position to begin the game, so that was an adjustment. Clint hasn’t play with Thomas, so there are connections there that
Seattle also welcomed back Brad Evans
from Gold Cup duty, but the Sounders' defense had one of its worst outings
of the season. It couldn't handle Pa-Modou Kah
, who had a career MLS night with two goals and staked the 'Caps to a 2-0 lead, and Pedro Morales
finished things off when his 25-yard free kick pierced the Seattle wall.
“Well the third is probably a good finish," said Sounders keeper Stefan Frei
. "In general, we just gave away too many silly free kicks around the box and maybe one was just in a nice sweet spot for him to take advantage and
obviously he took advantage of it. A center back with two goals for them is right spot at the right time but still we have to be in the right spot at the right time. You can’t just always say
it’s bad luck. We have to win individual battles, we have to be sharp defensively on set pieces and do better.” TRIVIA.
The Sounders have
lost their last four games all by shutout and have not scored in 362 consecutive minutes, a club record.