The Seattle Sounders FC ( 7-9-5, 26 points) continued their ascent up the Western Conference standings with a solid 3-1 victory over visiting New York City FC (13-5-4 43 points) Sunday afternoon in front of 39,528 fans at CenturyLink Field. The question is can and if so, how long can the Sounders sustain their annual late-season push for a playoff run.
The Sounders are 4-0-2) in their last six games and are on a three-game winning streak. The injection of Raul Ruidiaz in the lineup has given the Seattle offense a much-needed infusion of creativity and intentionality. Midfielder Harry Shipp can also take some of the credit along with Gustav Svennson for the Sounders newfound swagger.
Shipp’s movement in the middle from that is finding small crevices in the opponent’s defense half has created room for Nicole Lodeiro in the middle of the field while Svensson’s marking on transition defense has enabled the Sounders Cristian Roldan to push upfield when there is an opening in the attacking third.
The return of Kelvin Leerdam at right fullback means the Sounders are solid on defense regardless of what center back combination head coach Brian Schmetzer chooses. A healthy Roman Torres, Chad Marshall, and Kim Kee-hee have resulted in an embarrassment of riches at the center back position. Right back Nohou is picking his spots when pushing up the right flank and has now learned the importance of getting back on defense after that long run up the right flank.
The same can be said for the Sounders attacking front line. Will Bruin leads is the teams leading goal scorer with five and he was a late-game sub while Clint Dempsey second in franchise history for most goals scored has not started the last three games