Seattle Sounders Head Coach Brian Schmetzer challenges team after home loss to Real Salt Lake

SEATTLE — The Seattle Sounders fell 1-0 at home to Real Salt Lake on Saturday, the seventh time in their first 10 matches to open the 2018 MLS season in which they’ve been shut out.

Injuries and World Cup absences haven’t helped — offensive threats Jordan Morris (torn ACL), Will Bruin (partially torn plantar fascia), Víctor Rodríguez (knee sprain) and Nicolás Lodeiro (World Cup duty) all didn’t factor on Saturday — but Seattle is still having difficulty putting the ball in the back of the net.

“Right now the struggle is that we’re not close to scoring a goal,” said goalkeeper Stefan Frei. “We’re not facing Nick Rimando, who’s having a blinder today. We’re not striking the post and the crossbar six times today. We are just not there. We need to go back on the training ground, keep working on that confidence to step up and say, ‘I got this, I’ll bury this and have a crack at it.’ Throwing the kitchen sink at it today and still not getting close is frustrating.”

Sounders Head Coach Brian Schmetzer challenged his team in the locker room after the game to pull themselves out of their current form.

“I said, ‘Look, this is a tough time. There’s only one way we can go, which is up,’” Schmetzer noted. “They have to put the work in, they have to come ready to work on Tuesday and make sure that they’re prepared, not just physically but mentally, to see if we can correct some of the things that we will show them on tape and highlight some of the positive things they did accomplish.”

The team is happy with the training sessions the past few weeks and is encouraged by what it’s seen. The test now will be to translate that performance on the weekend.

“Our practices have been spectacular these last couple of weeks, we’ve worked our tails off, and what’s frustrating is we come to this game and then we don’t bring that same intensity, we don’t bring that same bit of spark, so I would say that’s the most frustrating part,” said midfielder Cristian Roldan. “From a positive viewpoint, our training sessions have been fantastic and they need to stay that way in order to get out of this hole.”

Added Schmetzer: “I think they’re better than this. This wasn’t a performance up to our standards, but it’s all in the little details, it’s all in the small things. What are you going to do at training? What are you doing when you’re not at training and at home? What are you doing to make yourself a better player, a good pro, on and off the field? We’ll watch film, we’ll do all that, but which are the guys who come up and ask for a little extra?

“We had numerous chances inside the box and we can’t score. Something has to break for us, and as soon as it does break, I think there are more goals in this team. Someone just has to start the train moving.”

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