The Sounders FC wants three points out of each and every match they play.
Some of those contests prove less urgent than others, but that cannot be said for this weekend’s match against the Chicago Fire.
After an 0-2-2 start, Seattle faces a Chicago side on Saturday that has started the season at 1-0-1 in the league’s first three weeks. Looking for their first victory of the season, Seattle also faces a daunting schedule in front of them. After Saturday, four of their next five matches will be on the road. Two of those road tilts come against teams who are currently leading their respective conferences in the Philadelphia Union (April 16) and Colorado Rapids (April 22).
While the team isn’t lacking in confidence, a win on Saturday would certainly verify their belief in their efforts.
“For confidence, it’s crucial for us to get a win – just so you guys can stop asking us these questions and so we can move forward,” head coach Sigi Schmid laughed with the media on Thursday. “If we had gotten a win against Houston at home based on the way we played, if we had walked out of the LA game with at least a tie based upon the way we had played, if we had won the game in San Jose based upon the way we had played - then we wouldn’t be having these conversations. That doesn’t change that much the way we played, you just have to put in that final foot to score the goals and we have to make sure we stop giving up goals even if they are great goals.”
Indeed, the goals scored against Seattle have been more often remarkable than not. However, that hasn’t changed the team’s desire to tighten things up and improve their all-around play as they seek to improve on their standing.
“Winning is your main confidence builder, regardless,” goalkeeper Kasey Keller said. “You can only talk so much about doing things a certain way. I’d have no problem having a game where we are defending for our lives and hit two counter-attack goals and win 2-nil. In a long season you’re going to have situations where you’re winning close games and doing just what you need to do to make it happen … if you keep faith in the system and faith in your ability, then it will come.”
One thing’s for sure – the slow start has not shaken the sturdy locker room. The team is still brimming with confidence that things will turn around and Schmid has maintained a jovial, yet competitive, atmosphere at training.
Just like last season when the club went on a run that saw them go 13-1-3 against MLS opponents, the players are united in their drive for on-field success.
“It’s a very good, unified locker room,” Keller said. “Getting a couple of wins will build that confidence and get us where we want to be. At the same time, it has to be done.”