The Seattle Sounders showed a bit of fight against the New England Revolution, fighting back from an early deficit to take a 2-1 lead into the break, but shaky defending cost the Sounders dearly on the game's final play with Revs striker Diego Fagundez finding space in a crowded box to score on a header. It was a gut-wrenching ending for Seattle, and though it was far from the most convincing performance in either phase of the game the Sounders will likely be wondering what it's going to take in order to see some good luck come their way.
Saër Sène opened the scoring for New England in the 12th minute, finding himself unmarked in acres of space and tapping the ball past keeper Andrew Weber. Replays showed Sène to be offside, but given that the Sounders have been burned in nearly identical situations several times during the course of this streak there should be no excusing such poor marking of a dangerous attacking player. Seattle would answer quickly however, with Eddie Johnson making an excellent run to get his head onto the end of a perfect cross from Mauro Rosales and bring the Sounders even in the 23rd minute. It would be Johnson again in the 35th, getting above two Revs defenders to score yet another excellent headed goal.
The second half was similar to the first, with the Sounders perhaps looking better on the balance of play but multiple defensive lapses going unpunished due to the inability of New England to finish chances. While the Sounders attack and possession game continues to show incremental improvement, the defense remains the most significant problem facing this team at the moment, even with the return of Adam Johannson to the back line. In the end it was yet another inexcusable lapse that cost the Sounders, with all 5'8" of Diego Fagundez managing to win an uncontested header in the box to equalize. While there's a good chance that the Revs never should have gotten the opportunity; just seconds earlier, Alvaro Fernandez was whistled for a foul after being hacked down from behind in New England's half. Had the call gone the way it appears as though it should have, Seattle may well have been able to run out the clock. But it did not, and there's no excusing Seattle's inability to defend for an additional 30 seconds.
Whether or not it is time to panic is largely irrelevant, unless of course you are Adrian Hanauer or Sigi Schmid. What's clear is that this is not an especially good team right now, and that if things do not improve quickly there is a legitimate chance they could fail to qualify for the playoffs which would have been nearly unthinkable before the season began. Sigi Schmid has accomplished some wonderful things in his time with Seattle, and he's pulled the team out of bad tailspins in the past. In other words, he's earned both the benefit of the doubt and a very long leash. But this stretch of poor form looks and feels quite different from others in the past. Perhaps most worryingly, there really don't appear to be any easy answers to this team's problems.