Seattle Sounders head coach Brian Schmetzer has admitted that his team took their 3-2 loss against Liga MX outfit Club Leon in the Leagues Cup final pretty hard, given it was their first ever international final.
The Sounders had taken the lead on Wednesday through Cristian Roldan's 48th minute effort, but three goals in 24 minutes for Club Leon rendered Nicolas Benezet's injury-time goal inconsequential.
Speaking to reporters, Schemetzer said things could have been very different had a couple of key moments worked out differently, and noted his players had struggled to come to terms with losing.
“Even watching some of the film was not easy because of the emotional drain of being this close to winning that game," Schmetzer said. "A couple of key moments would have changed the game. It was hard for them to watch. But they're not afraid of that, because they understand that's how they learn.”
Despite the result, Schmetzer believes it can be an advantage.
“I'm very proud of the team for having that type of mentality to push us through. We've experienced something that other teams haven't this year.
"We’ve lost a big game, and now it's the time to push through that and use that experience to be better so that when the playoffs roll around, maybe we've learned a couple things from the Leon game.”
The Sounders return to MLS action on Sunday against Western Conference leaders Sporting Kansas City, another daunting challenge in a short time span. With Seattle standing in second place with 45 points in 25 matches, the game could dictate the upcoming leader of the table - though French winger Benezet isn't worried.
“They are in front of us,” Benezet remarked. “That's the bad thing and it’s also the good thing because it’s like motivation. We have to beat them to be back on the top of the West, so that's the goal for us.
“We have to move on, we don't have any choices. We lost, we can’t do anything anymore. So we have to move on and win the next game.”