Heating up in August
Posted by: Matt Gaschk
Seattle has gone 3-1-0 in MLS play while outscoring their opponents 13-4 to elevate to the second spot in the conference, in the month of August.
Not all has been rosy in the month of August, but asking for a better month would seem greedy of the Sounders FC.
Seattle started the month at 9-5-7 in MLS play and tied for third in the Western Conference with the Vancouver Whitecaps FC, but held a one-goal lead on their northwest rivals for the third spot in the West.
Since then, they have gone 3-1-0 in MLS play while outscoring their opponents 13-4 to elevate to the second spot in the conference, just seven points behind the MLS-leading San Jose Earthquakes with a game in hand and a head-to-head meeting.
Additionally, a pair of 3-1 wins in the CONCACAF Champions League over Caledonia from Trinidad bookended the month, leaving the Sounders with a comfortable lead in the group, needing to win just one of their final two matches against Marathon from Honduras to seal a berth in the quarterfinals.
“I was really happy with how we’ve played and how we’ve dealt with a lot of adversity this month and a lot of travel,” Sounders FC head coach Sigi Schmid said. “I think we’re there where we need to be. I think we’re competitive and we’re in position to make a move in league and we’re obviously in the position to advance here in the Champions League.”
Outside of a four-day stretch early in the month, they’ve been a virtually unstoppable force.
In those two matches, they could not get past Sporting Kansas City in the US Open Cup final and wound up falling on penalties after drawing 1-1. Then they dropped a road result to the Earthquakes, equalizing on a stoppage time goal from Fredy Montero only to see San Jose regain the lead just before the final whistle.
Those two results aside, the Sounders have re-established themselves as a team to beat in MLS behind a stellar month from Mauro Rosales, Fredy Montero and Michael Gspurning.
Montero is the front-runner for MLS Player of the Month with his six goals and one assist in league play, moving into a tie with Eddie Johnson for the team-lead and fourth in the league with 11 goals on the season. He also scored two in Champions League play to give him 15 goals across all competitions on the season.
Rosales finished the month with six assists in MLS play to put him in the league lead with 13 on the season, matching his club record from last season.
Gspurning had two shutouts in home wins over the LA Galaxy and the Vancouver Whitecaps FC, returning to the form has him leading the league in goals against average at 0.70.
Yet a big part of the story has been the contributions of other players on the team.
Andy Rose, Sammy Ochoa and Alex Caskey all had multiple goals across the three competitions in August, along with Johnson, giving the Sounders attacking threats from all over the field in all sorts of roles. The integration of new signings Christian Tiffert and Mario Martinez only adds to that multi-layered attack.
“We’re getting goals from different people now, which is really important,” Schmid said. “The addition of Tiffert has helped our team. The addition of Martinez has helped our team. Once Rose comes back from this injury, Andy’s been an important member of the team. I think we have a lot of different options and that makes our team stronger.”
The Sounders will look to continue their August success into the month of September, starting against FC Dallas on Sunday at FC Dallas Stadium. Kickoff is set for 4 pm Pacific with television coverage on KONG 6/16 and the radio broadcast on 97.3 KIRO FM.