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Schmetzer: Loss to Timbers a ‘tough pill to swallow’

Losing a match is always a difficult thing, but it’s worse when the defeat is to an arch rival and the team felt it played well enough to get a result.

“It’s a tough loss. Tough pill to swallow. Because, again I think the guys put everything into the game,” Seattle Sounders head coach Brian Schmetzer said after his team gave up a late goal to fall to the Portland Timbers, 1-0. “I thought there were some times in the game where we had the upper hand. Second half was back and forth and it’s disappointing. Disappointing to lose, disappointing to lose that late in the game, disappointing to lose to Portland. Simple as that.”

The Sounders really did think they played well enough to at least come out with a draw. They didn’t create much on the attack, but their defense was strong on the day as a whole. They only allowed a pair of shots on target and held down Portland’s dangerous attack.

“I thought we actually played a decent game,” said goalkeeper Stefan Frei. “Kept them at bay and frustrated them for the most part of the game. Then about middle of second half we started defending a little too much for my liking and weren’t able to release pressure.”

It didn’t help that Schmetzer was forced into some defensive changes in the middle of the second half. First, it was Nouhou Tolo being forced off with an injury at the hour mark. Then it was Kim Kee-Hee coming off bloodied in the 71st minute. This took a couple strong defenders off the pitch and, not surprisingly, allowed the Timbers to break forward with more regularity.

Sebastian Blanco’s goal came right through the center of defense, where Kee-Hee would have been stationed. Instead it was 18-year-old Handwalla Bwana, who had all of three MLS appearances before Sunday. Schmetzer feels his young subs could have done more to influence the game, but he refuses to blame them for the loss.

“Young guys that come in have to make impacts in the game,” he said. “They gotta come and try and make a difference in the game. Now, that’s not saying they’re at fault for the goal. That’s not what I’m saying. Games change sometimes when you influence as a sub.”

Being forced into using young defenders is no excuse for defeat and it doesn’t make the loss any easier to take. Even the Sounders’ midweek win in Toronto isn’t enough to take the sting out of playing well against a rival and still coming out on the wrong side of a close match.

“I think the guys put in a good shift,” Frei reiterated. “Tough, tough week for us in terms of traveling and everything, but would have been really nice to end that spell with what I would say is a deserved point. Going home empty-handed sucks.”


  1. losing does suck, and that was true when you were six years old and it’s still true now now matter how old you are as adult and that’s why sports are good for kids, sports builds character and teaches kids things about life that won’t change for as long as they live.

    • we know no one can win every time, so we watch guys like Bruce arena and Brian schmetzer and see how they deal with adversity, how they deal with losing. we want to learn something about ourselves, “how can i deal with adversity better in my own life?”, “how can i better with losing in my own life?”. because sports is an analogy for life, and our role models on the pitch are our role models in life teaching us how to deal with life, not just sports. adversity, losing, injuries, bad luck, this is not just sports, it’s life, and we look to our heros on the pitch to teach us how to deal with all of it.

  2. “SBI why continually do two different subjective match articles? It’s like you try and pander to each team. Rather then be objective and tell the story of the game.”

    i, for one, like the two subjective stories about the same game approach. more local flavor for the fans of the team that the article focuses on.

  3. Sounders played a well organized three or five in the back and defended behind the ball most of the time. However, their midfield had zero distribution and very little gumption on the ball. It would be very interesting to see a heat map and the amount of touches Dempsey had? Granted the Sounders were short handed and well prepared with a game plan which kept them in the game but had little going forward.
    This was the type of game where the older Roldan showed nothing? He is very one dimensional in midfield and offers little in possession and gong forward.
    SBI why continually do two different subjective match articles? It’s like you try and pander to each team. Rather then be objective and tell the story of the game.
    Quick bullet points
    -Hot sunny midday Derby
    -Sounders played three in the back with nine players primarily behind midfield
    -Sounders banked of catching the Tinbers on the counter. Playing one forward Dempsey who had little influence on the entire match.
    -Timbers struggled to create opportunities against an organized compact Sounders defense. -Timbers continue to struggle offensively under GioS. Lacking their past ball control, tight triangles passes in the final third.
    -Yet the Timbers midfield is still talented and out performed a depleted Sounders lineup.
    -Timbers continue to improve each week and the Sounders are pedestrian with so many injuries.
    – Hoping the next Cascadia matchup pits a healthy lineup on both sides

  4. Its an especially tough pill to swallow because this was the first game ever for the Timers! No one had even heard of them before this game. (they will eventually fix the title, btw) Sometimes I feel like an old timer on this page…


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