The Sounders FC started their season on Saturday in disappointing fashion with a 1-0 defeat to the Montreal Impact at CenturyLink Field.
Through the loss, the Sounders will have the opportunity to address some things they need to improve upon, but there are also things to be optimistic about.
Here are four things we learned from the match.
Energy cannot be assumed
The Sounders opened the season with a season-opening club record crowd of 38,998 and while the crowd brought the noise – and a tremendous tifo display to open the match – the Sounders didn’t match that energy in the first half.
They held most of the possession throughout the match, but lacked in urgency until the start of the second half. For head coach Sigi Schmid, some of that can be blamed on the successful preseason and the contentment that may have accompanied it.
“We didn’t play with the energy that we played with in the second half, so we need to make sure we bring that energy from the very beginning,” Schmid said. “That may be a little bit from when you have a good preseason, you’re maybe a little complacent.”
Yedlin was up to the task
Seattle’s first ever Homegrown Player DeAndre Yedlin was expected to spell starter Adam Johansson throughout the season as the 19-year-old O’Dea High School product opened his professional career. However, an injury to Johansson pushed Yedlin into the starting lineup on Saturday and he proved ready for the challenge.
He was calm. He was poised. He was undeterred by the pressure of playing in front of the hometown crowd that was enveloped in his play.
“I thought for a young man making his debut at home there could have been a lot of pressure. He could have not handled that well, but I thought he handled it well,” Schmid said. “I thought he played well. I thought he had a good game.”
Alonso is MVP for a reason
For the last three years, Osvaldo Alonso has been voted by his teammates as the club’s MVP. Serving a one-game suspension for a red card issued to him after Seattle’s final game in the Western Conference Championship series against the LA Galaxy last year, Alonso watched from the stands as the Sounders struggled to solve Montreal’s compacted midfield.
Would Alonso have been the difference between being stumped by that defensive tact and starting strong? It’s tough to say, but while Andy Rose played as well as expected in his place, even Rose conceded before the match that there’s only one Ozzie.
Rebounding is simple, but important
The Sounders have been a good team coming off of a loss. The last time they lost consecutive games was at the start of the 2011 season when they dropped consecutive 1-0 defeats to the LA Galaxy and New York Red Bulls.
For that to continue, they will need a good result in a difficult situation on Wednesday when they meet Tigres UANL in the quarterfinals of the CONCACAF Champions League in Monterrey, Mexico. While it is a difficult opponent on the road and a quick turnaround, the Sounders are confident that they can right the wrongs of Saturday’s opener.
“I don’t think we’re that far away. I think we play our best when we come flying out of the gates,” defender Zach Scott said. “Our best soccer has come when we put teams under pressure, play simple, play quick and play to our strengths. We’re a good technical team. I think if we get back to that, we’re really close.”
Key to that bounce back will be a calm urgency, though, realizing that Saturday’s loss is just one result in a long season.
“You don’t want to overreact and panic over one game,” midfielder Steve Zakuani said. “We didn’t become a bad team because of this one game. We have to stay confident and stay on course of what we need to do.”