While it’s not quite the road less traveled the Seattle Sounders 1-1 draw with the Philadelphia Union Saturday afternoon was the start of four consecutive road games for the Rave Green. Saturday’s game was also the third game in eight days. The Sounders next home game will be Saturday, June 29th when they host the Vancouver Whitecaps after having racked up frequent flyer miles due to stops in Kansas City (May 26th ) Dallas (June 1st and Montreal ( June 5th )
The Sounders are one of the better road teams in MLS, something that head coach Brian Schmetzer is quick to point out not from a bragging perspective but more from a pride factor in how his team accepts the challenge to step into a hostile environment and give it their best as a collective body.
Saturdays draw with the Union was no different. It was a hard-earned point against a team that had been unbeaten in its last five games four of which were wins and had outscored it’s opponents 13-3.
“Well if you look at this sheet of paper, statistically it was not a good game for us. Credit to Jim [Curtin] and the [Philadelphia] Union, who controlled large parts of the game. When I look at the faces in the locker room, when I look at the players on the field giving it their all, giving them chances to win at the end of the game on a couple set pieces and stealing a couple passes, I can’t ask for anything more from my guys, ” Sounders head coach Brian Schmetzer after the game
“We flew out on two days rest and for them to put on a performance like that, and some guys who played all three games, it was a monster performance. I don’t think there is any team in the league that won’t take seven points in a week. So whatever this piece of paper says, we are pleased.”
Credit should also be given to Schmetzer for putting the right players in the right positions. Dealing with a number of injuries and managing minutes amongst the busy stretch, Schmetzer organized his team in a 5-3-2 formation. Jonathan Campbell made his Sounders FC debut as a third centerback alongside Román Torres and Kim Kee-hee, while Saad Abdul-Salaam and Nouhou started in place of regular fullbacks Kelvin Leerdam and Brad Smith. Alex Roldan made his first start of 2019 in midfield alongside Cristian Roldan and Jordy Delem, in addition to Will Bruin replacing Raúl Ruidíaz at striker for Saturday’s match.
- With Saturdays result, Sounders FC is now 7-1-5 on the season, good for 26 points through 12 matches so far in 2019. The Rave Green are currently second place in the Western Conference, four points shy of first-place Los Angeles FC.
- Seattle is now 4-5-3 all-time against the Union in MLS regular season play, including a 0-3-3 record at Talen Energy Stadium.
- With 26 points, Sounders FC is tied for its best start through the first 12 games of the season in club history. The Rave Green also earned 26 points though 12 games in 2014 and 2015, recording an 8-3-2 record in each season. Seattle‘s one loss through 12 games is two fewer than any other season in club history.
- Sounders FC finishes its stretch of three games in eight days with seven points (2-0-1), following home wins over the Houston Dynamo last Saturday and Orlando City SC on Wednesday.
- The Rave Green are now 1-1-3 on the road in 2019, with three more home matches on the horizon before against Sporting Kansas City, FC Dallas and the Montreal Impact before returning to CenturyLink Field on June 29 vs. Vancouver Whitecaps FC.
- Brian Schmetzer organized his team in a 5-3-2 formation, with Jonathan Campbell making his Sounders FC debut as a third centerback alongside Román Torres and Kim Kee-hee. Saad Abdul-Salaam and Nouhou started in place of regular fullbacks Kelvin Leerdam and Brad Smith, while Alex Roldan made his first start of 2019 in midfield alongside Cristian Roldan and Jordy Delem.
- Stefan Frei made six saves en route to his fourth shutout of the season and 71st in his MLS career, good for seventh all-time. He currently sits second in league-wide with 45 saves on the season.