MLS Soccer

Sounders’ preparation continues with 2-1 loss

Seattle Sounders FC lost a game it could have won Wednesday, and coach Sigi Schmid didn’t like that.

And the final goal in New England’s 2-1 win came on a penalty kick following a call that the Sounders definitely didn’t like.

But Schmid still cast the evening in a positive light, feeling his team had progressed in its primary goals of preparation for a regular season now less than 10 days away.

Among those goals were stretching some players to a full 90 minutes of fitness, while also getting game experience for a handful of young players in a first 11 that included rookies Cristian Roldan and Darwin Jones in midfield, and new defenders Oniel Fisher, Jimmy Ockford and Andres Correa in front of goalkeeper Troy Perkins.

“It gave us a good chance to look at Correa over a full game,” Schmid said. “Zach (Scott) got 90. We wanted to have a comparison with Ockford and (Damion) Lowe. We wanted to see how Fisher would do. So it gave us a chance to look at all those players.”

Seattle jumped ahead in the fourth minute with a combination of youth and experience as Kenny Cooper scored his second goal of the preseason, assisted by Jones, the homegrown rookie out of the University of Washington and Mount Rainier High.

“It definitely was a boost because the last couple of days I’ve been playing outside, and the focus has been me getting isolated on the wing and going at the right back,” Jones said. “So I did it first try, and it definitely worked. I liked that.”

However, youth worked against the Sounders on the equalizer. That play began with the Revolution working inside of Correa and ended with an own goal by Lowe.

“Correa gets beat on the goal … but I think he’s a good player,” Schmid said. “I think he had more good moments than other moments. And he’s certainly a creative player. He’s a good player coming forward, and he’s good with the ball, and he can help us that way.”

Seattle gained a man advantage in the 59th minute when Tyler Rudy received a red card for a high tackle on Roldan. Although Schmid didn’t see an 11-on-10 finish as ideal preparation for the coming season.

“You always prefer 11 on 11,” he said. “… It is preseason and the referee can say, ‘Hey, take this guy off the field because otherwise I’ve got to red card him,’ and I think as coaches we’d respect that and take the guy off the field and bring somebody else on.”

Seattle’s unhappiness with the referee wasn’t over. It returned shortly before the final whistle when Scott was called for a foul against former Sounder Sean Okoli of Federal Way. Charlie Davies converted the PK for the win.

“I think it’s just a no-call play,” Perkins said. “But the referee, it’s his decision. I don’t agree with it, I don’t think anyone agrees with it except for New England. But it is what it is, and we should have finished our chances earlier, and that situation maybe doesn’t even come about.”

The result dropped the Sounders to 1-2 in the Desert Diamond Cup. They will conclude the tournament Saturday, although their opponent and start time was not immediately announced.

Once again, that will matter less to Schmid than final game preparation for the MLS season, which begins March 8 when the Revolution visits CenturyLink Field.

“We’ll play the group that will probably play the following week, for the most part,” Schmid said. “There might still be some changes. These guys — even though they played here on Wednesday — they can be available as subs for Saturday. Again, we don’t want to have anybody get injured, but we want to make sure we play.”