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Injuries derail Sounders’ hopes of joining Red Bulls, TFC in CCL semifinals

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The Seattle Sounders appeared to be in a good position to join the New York Red Bulls and Toronto FC in the CONCACAF Champions League semifinals, but injuries did them in Wednesday night against Chivas.

Already dealing with the absence of Nicolas Lodeiro, the Sounders couldn’t afford any other big knocks.

In the first half of the clash at the Estadio Akron, the Sounders lost forward Will Bruin and center back Chad Marshall to injuries.

The losses of the pair of MLS veterans proved to be too much to overcome, as the Sounders fell 3-0 to Chivas.

“I would say number one I don’t want to take anything away from Chivas because I thought they played hard and they played well. Certainly it is a disadvantage if you lose your captain and your playmaker,” Sounders head coach Brian Schmetzer said.”

“It certainly is a disadvantage when you lose two players in the first half, but our team does not make excuses,” Schmetzer said. “The expectation is the next player has to step forward and fill the shoes of the player that’s injured. There was a lot of quality players that weren’t on the field and that made it tough for us tonight.”

Losing Bruin hurt the Sounders’ tactical alignment, as no one else in the squad possesses the physical qualities the 28-year-old does.

“We could’ve used Will’s work rate and his desire to win those individual battles,” Schmetzer said. “I think that was a very big blow. The tactics and whatever you work on in your training week, we don’t have a true replacement at the No. 9 for Will as a hold-up, back-to-goal type of striker. When we brought Lamar on, it forced us to push Clint a little further up the field and it changed the dynamic of how we play so that was obviously a very big loss.”

Of course Marshall’s exit didn’t help either, but at least the Sounders were able to soften the impact with Roman Torres still in at center back.

But no matter how hard they tried to pull out a result, the Sounders weren’t able to come away with the third MLS win in as many tries in the quarterfinal round.

“Our intent was to go and score one goal because we knew then they would have to score three,” Schmetzer said. “They achieved their objective and we did not. I think the Seattle Sounders will always try and win games, we’ll never try to play for 0-0, but unfortunately losing your striker in the beginning and losing Chad Marshall, it was going to be a challenge. I think we got through the first 45 minutes. I was very proud of the team’s effort and unfortunately we couldn’t hold on against a very good Chivas team.”

Although the Sounders didn’t advance, their head coach was quick to point out why MLS is beginning to close the gap between it and Liga MX, and why more victories are coming sooner rather than later.

“If you’re judging New York Red Bulls and Toronto’s results, you would say those are positive results for the league,” Schmetzer said. “Our result in Seattle was indicative of how we can play. The Mexican teams are still very good, but I think the gap is shrinking a little bit and kudos to Jesse (Marsch) and Greg (Vanney).

“I think that with the increase in TAM money, the development of young American players, I know we’re putting a lot of money into our academy systems, I think those two things are pushing the level and quality of our teams higher and so it might take us a few years, but I think you saw based off the results, that we’re getting a little closer.”

Comments

  1. The Sounders have been fighting with one hand behind their back because Garth ‘Moneyball’ Lagerwey won’t fill that final DP spot.

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  2. the fighting spirit every day, coach schmetzer. testing your team’s depth now will usually have a pay off later in the season when you need to call on these younger guys again and now they know what to do

    Reply

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