Did a strong preseason hurt Sounders FC?
Coach Sigi Schmid said he thought so after Seattle suffered a lackluster 1-0 home loss Saturday to Montreal.
The Sounders went 4-0-1 in their final five exhibitions before the 2013 MLS season, including a four-game sweep in the Desert Diamond Cup in Tucson, Ariz., by a 7-1 goal differential.
Success, however minor, might have led to complacency.
“It was just a matter of maybe we thought … that it would just keep going,” Schmid said. “We all got to look at it and say, ‘Hey, we need to come out a little hungrier, a little sharper.’ “
And they need to get closer to full strength.
The Sounders didn’t use personnel issues as an excuse for defeat, but they could have formed the base of a pretty strong team solely from the players who weren’t available Saturday.
Injured: Patrick Ianni (foot), Adam Johansson (knee), David Estrada (ankle).
Still working into shape: Shalrie Joseph, Djimi Traore.
Suspended: Osvaldo Alonso, Marc Burch.
Lastly, Lamar Neagle wasn’t allowed to play against his former team as a condition of the February trade that brought the Federal Way native home from Montreal — a fact not revealed until after the game.
Those absences led to opportunities for reserves, and perhaps no one took advantage better than young defender DeAndre Yedlin in his MLS debut.
The 19-year-old Seattle native, who signed in the offseason as the franchise’s first homegrown player, started at right back in place of Johansson and had a noticeable impact. Yedlin became the second-youngest Sounder to start an MLS game at 19 years, seven months and 21 days (Miguel Montano was youngest at 19 years, 16 days in 2010).
Coach was impressed.
“I thought for a young man making his debut at home, there could have been a lot of pressure,” Schmid said. “He could have not handled that well, but I thought he handled it well. I thought he played well.”
“Absolutely fantastic,” said goalkeeper Michael Gspurning.
“Brilliant,” added forward Eddie Johnson on Twitter.
Yedlin, who found out on Friday he was starting, had about 10 friends and family members in attendance. He said his pregame emotions were “a good balance” of excitement and nervousness.
“Obviously a loss is never the result you want,” the O’Dea High School product said, “but it’s good to get a game under my belt and see what it’s like to play with the first team and get to start. It was definitely good for my experience.”