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Heavy loss has Seattle looking at changes

Changes are coming in the Pacific Northwest. That much was clear in the aftermath of Seattle’s 4-0 shellacking at the hands of the Los Angeles Galaxy.

After witnessing his team’s uninspiring effort, Seattle coach Sigi Schmid made no secret of his disappointment in the post-match press conference. Which players find themselves in the coach’s crosshairs, however, is open to interpretation.  

“It’s not time to panic, but time for some people to wake up and for character to step forward,” Schmid said. “When you’re down 2-0, 3-0, people have to step up and show their character and show what they’re made of.”

“Some guys we’ve asked repeatedly to do certain things, and it hasn’t been coming, so there are some changes that will be made as a result of that.”

Schmid expressed consternation at this team’s lack of effort all over the field. Seattle’s game plan was to play with a high tempo, but Schmid didn’t think his players followed through on that. He called the defensive lapse that led to Los Angeles’ third goal “inexcusable” but reserved his harshest criticism for the offensive end.

Schmid said he needs players who are willing to sacrifice their bodies to get on the end of crosses, not “six playmakers.” The comment sounded like a thinly veiled shot at strikers Freddie Ljungberg and Fredy Montero. Could it be that one, or both, could lose their spots in the starting lineup when Seattle travel to New York next weekend?

It’s possible. Although Ljungberg missed time last season due to injury only, Schmid benched Montero in 2009 in an attempt to refocus the talented Colombian. Neither played well today. Schmid seemed especially unhappy with Montero, yanking the striker in the 57th minute and saying the offense looked better with Brad Evans playing center forward.

 “We compete for spots every week,” Schmid said. “I’ve given some guys a longer leash than others. That leash just tore today.”

Seattle were unable to deal with the Galaxy’s offside trap and was whistled 10 times for that infraction, including eight times in the first half. Evans, Steve Zakuani, and Montero were each called offside three times.

“A couple times we got called because guys were lazy coming back,” Schmid said. “A couple offsides weren’t offsides [but] bad calls by the linesman.”

Of all the teams in MLS, a loss to the Galaxy hurts the most. The connections between Seattle and Los Angeles are extensive. Sigi Schmid coached the Galaxy for a number of years before being forced out. Pete Vagenas played for Schmid in L.A., as did Tyrone Marshall.

Seattle’s majority owner Joe Roth lives in the Los Angeles area, and Sounders FC CEO Tod Leiweke’s brother Tim is the chief executive of AEG, which owns the Galaxy. Add it all up, and it makes the loss even more embarrassing for Sounders FC.

“Once it was 3-0, they were—as the English would say—taking the piss,” Schmid said.