WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Sounders FC and DC United were two teams heading in opposite directions entering Wednesday night’s match at RFK Stadium. Unbeaten in their last six matches, the Sounders were coming off their best game of the year in a 3-0 toppling of Toronto FC. DC, meanwhile, had just one win in their last six matches, a stretch that included a 4-0 loss to the New York Red Bulls and 4-1 losses to the Colorado Rapids and Houston Dynamo.
Wednesday, though, DC came out like a team desperate to get back in the win column and the Sounders simply could not find their rhythm that was there in their victory on Saturday. The result was a 2-1 loss for Seattle - their first defeat at RFK in four matches since joining MLS in 2009.
“It’s a tough one to swallow, especially after a good win the other night,” forward Nate Jaqua said. “We just weren’t as sharp as we needed to be. It wasn’t up to our performance and we paid for it.”
DC United got nearly identical goals from Josh Wolff and Charlie Davies to take a 2-0 lead, but Brad Evans pulled the Sounders closer with a penalty kick goal. However, they were unable to find the equalizer and suffered their third loss of the season.
The game started at a fast pace, with both teams flying all over the field for the first 20 minutes.
Eventually, DC was able to catch the Sounders on a counterattack and Wolff netted his second goal of the season. Andy Najar led Davies up the right side and Davies slung a cross to Wolff all alone at the far post for a one-touch goal in the 31st minute.
In the 52nd minute, Wolff returned the favor to Davies, finding the league’s top scorer for a sliding effort at the post for his sixth goal of the season and a 2-0 lead.
“It’s frustrating because I don’t think we dealt with the situation well,” Schmid said of the similarity between the two goals.
Goalkeeper Kasey Keller finished with three saves, but the goals by Wolff and Davies left him shaking his head.
“When guys are getting tap-ins at the far post, those are frustrating,” Keller said. “You do it once and you hope you learn from it and unfortunately, we didn’t.”
Shortly after falling behind 2-0, Seattle shifted to a 3-5-2 when midfielder Mauro Rosales subbed into the match for defender James Riley.
In an instant, the Sounders were finding their space and pressuring the DC net. In the 70th minutes, that aggressive attack paid off when Fredy Montero was taken down in the box and Seattle was awarded a penalty. For the second straight match, Evans put away the PK and the Sounders pulled within 2-1.
However, that momentum was short-lived.
Just three minutes after Schmid used his last substitute, Rosales pulled up with a hamstring strain and the Sounders were left with just ten active players on the field for the final 11 minutes.
Rosales had just returned from a hamstring strain that kept him out of the previous match, but strained his other hamstring against DC United.
“When Mauro came into the game I thought he changed the game for us. He had the maturity to settle the ball down and connect some passes and that helped us to get into a rhythm,” Schmid said. “We got the penalty, then we lost the rhythm after that because he was injured.”
The Sounders fell to 3-3-3 (12 points) with the loss while DC improves to 3-4-1 (10 points). Seattle will head to Crew Stadium to take on the Columbus Crew on Saturday as they look to get back to their winning ways.
Sounders FC - Brad Evans (PK) 71.
DC United - Josh Wolff (Charlie Davies, Andy Najar) 31; Davies (Wolff, Najar) 52.
Sounders FC - Nate Jaqua (caution) 55.
DC United - Ethan White (caution) 13; Charlie Davies (caution) 35.
Sounders FC - Kasey Keller, James Riley (Mauro Rosales 59), Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Patrick Ianni, Tyson Wahl, Brad Evans, Osvaldo Alonso, Erik Friberg, Alvaro Fernandez (Leo Gonzalez 76), Fredy Montero, Nate Jaqua (Roger Levesque 64).
DC United - Bill Hamid, Perry Kitchen, Dejan Jakovic, Ethan White, Daniel Woolard, Andy Najar (Fred 77), Dax McCarty, Clyde Simms (Stephen King 82), Chris Pontius (Santino Quaranta 49), Charlie Davies, Josh Wolff.