SEATTLE — 5-game homestands are a relative rarity in MLS. Up till this yr, the Seattle Sounders had by no means performed greater than three consecutive league video games at house. Once they do occur, they’re nearly at all times associated to some type of development, both of a brand new stadium or vital renovations.
The Sounders’ lengthy stretch of house video games was not as deliberate. Initially, it was solely alleged to consist of 4 video games — which might have nonetheless been the longest in group historical past — however bought prolonged by a sport after Concacaf Champions League pressured some rescheduling.
Regardless of the trigger, this appeared to current a fairly large alternative for the Sounders to make up some floor. After securing 10 factors within the first 4 video games, it appeared to be organising nearly completely. A win on Wednesday would have allowed the Sounders to maneuver all the way in which as much as fourth within the Western Convention standings, fairly a feat contemplating that they had been useless final as lately as two months in the past.
It was not meant to be. After Jordan Morris staked them to a 1-0 lead over CF Montreal lower than three minutes into the sport, the Sounders struggled to seek out any constant rhythm. In the long run, they fell 2-1 after a pair of largely preventable objectives by Mason Toye.
“Yeah, annoyed, I believe,” Morris informed reporters when requested about his feelings following the loss. “It was a possibility for us to maintain climbing the desk and each time we play at house we wish to win so it is a powerful outcome.”
The outcome itself was maybe extra predictable than it might have appeared. The win allowed Montreal to maneuver to the highest of the Japanese Convention they usually’ve been one of many league’s top-scoring groups all yr. Their comparatively nameless popularity apart, this has been an excellent group.
|Workforce||Video games||Factors||PPG||12 months|
|Workforce||Video games||Factors||PPG||12 months|
|LA Galaxy||6||11||1.83||in 2003|
|Portland Timbers||10||14||1.40||in 2019|
|Austin FC||7||7||1.00 am||in 2021|
|Sounders||5||10||2.00 am||in 2022|
Lengthy households additionally are typically more durable to completely maximize than they might appear. Of the 5 longest I discovered, solely DC United, who claimed 19 factors over seven straight house matches in the direction of the tip of 2018, had a greater per-game common than the Sounders’ 2.0 throughout this lately concluded stretch.
Whereas that offers some context, it should not diminish the sense of missed alternative. Watching the sport unfold, it is not laborious to really feel as if the Sounders have been their very own worst enemies for a lot of the evening.
The stable defending and clean transitions into counter-attacks that has outlined a lot of their play for the reason that CCL closing was in frustratingly brief provide in opposition to Montreal. The midfield was notably out of kinds, typically unable to attach ahead passes and generate any actual sustained stress. The principle wrongdoer appeared to be Montreal’s press, which got here out as a 3-5-2 and restricted the Sounders to simply 11 photographs and .9 anticipated objectives, each amongst their lowest outputs at house in 2022.
“I believe we tried to play by the press after which as soon as we bought by we rushed our closing cross, we rushed the ultimate piece,” Sounders midfielder Cristian Roldan mentioned. “I really feel like as soon as we break that line the sport form of opens up and turns into a little bit of a observe meet. I do not suppose that is what we’re good at and I believe that is form of what occurred at this time. We have been disjointed. 4 guys attacking after which six guys behind the ball. Simply making an attempt to stand up the sector. We did not construct in the direction of a purpose, we simply form of ended up kicking a protracted ball based mostly on their press.”
What notably annoyed Roldan was that early on the Sounders discovered some success by taking part in vertically. The Sounders purpose got here out of Roldan successful a ball after which shortly taking part in Morris in behind. For the primary quarter-hour or so, related openings appeared to be out there. However after Montreal tied it, the Sounders appeared to cease in search of these longer balls excessive.
Maybe in an effort to determine possession and possibly simply show they might, the Sounders appeared insistent on taking part in by the press somewhat than over it. Roldan was left shaking his head.
“I’ve at all times preferred our possibilities 3-v-3 within the entrance,” he mentioned. “They have been taking part in us aggressively. If we stretch the road, areas are going to open up, they are not going to press as a lot. Sending a message — identical to they’re sending a message to us — that if they are going to press, we’re simply going to bypass it and go ahead with directness, verticality. I felt like that is one thing we did not do.”
This outcome by itself was hardly a catastrophe. The Sounders nonetheless discover themselves in a playoff spot and with a sport in hand on most of their rivals. It will not take a protracted string of outcomes to maneuver into an much more advantageous place. However this was additionally a possibility misplaced, partially as a result of the upcoming schedule appears much more daunting. 4 of the Sounders’ six matches in July are on the highway and three of these will probably be performed on brief relaxation. You possibly can guess that at the least among the Sounders’ opponents will see what Montreal did and do their greatest to imitate it. The Sounders cannot afford to get complacent.