Monday's match against LAFC certainly didn't go as planned for the Seattle Sounders and Head Coach Brian Schmetzer.
A penalty kick goal in the 14th minute by Diego Rossi and 39th minute own goal by Seattle centerback Shane O'Neill carried LAFC to a 2-0 halftime lead, and while the Sounders saw a glimmer of hope after Will Bruin's goal in the 75th, including two near-goals shortly after, that hope quickly faded when Los Angeles hit two more in the waning minutes.
The 4-1 loss at the Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando knocked Seattle out of the MLS is Back Tournament and sent the club packing, as they will travel back to the Northwest on Tuesday and depart the bubble they've lived in since July 3.
Overall, the tournament saw the Sounders find their footing in the group stage that concluded with a 3-0 win over the Vancouver Whitecaps, but LAFC proved too tough of a task for the heavily injured squad. Xavier Arreaga returned from a concussion, plus Bruin and Joevin Jones also made second half appearances, but Yeimar Gomez Andrade and Joao Paulo failed to make the lineup Monday due to a hamstring strain and quad strain, respectively.
While last October's 3-1 win by Seattle over LAFC in the Western Conference Championship stands as a distant memory, the hopes going into Monday's match stood similar. An underdog squad facing one of the best in the league, with few giving the Rave Green a big chance. Unfortunately for the Sounders, the national "analysts" got this one right.
So what's next for Seattle? Players can train at Starfire Sports when the team returns home, but with only a reported plan in sight for the future. Per The Athletic, MLS has a plan in place to resume the regular season on August 22nd with 18 matches, an 18-team playoff starting on November 20, nine from each conference, and MLS Cup on December 12. However, this plan is not official and could of course be altered or cancelled at any time. For now, there only exists hope.
Hope that those who are Eternal Blue and Forever Green have not seen the Sounders for the final time in 2020. Hope that Seattle will get the chance to return the elimination favor to LAFC later this year. Hope that there will again be soccer at CenturyLink Field in 2020.
I, Jackson Felts, sure hope there will be. But for now, enjoy the high -and low- lights from the 4-1 loss below, as well as our Postgame Show from Monday night and player interviews.