On Friday, the Sounders FC will board a bus bound for Vancouver and begin a nine-day adventure that will take them through three countries, three time zones and three matches. All the while, traveling over 9,000 miles as they embark on the longest road trip of their history.
The trip will include stops for training in Frisco, Texas, and Providence, Rhode Island.
“We’re going to be away for a long time so guys are going to have to entertain themselves and get along with each other. I think that’s the important thing with a road trip—that you don’t get bored sometimes,” head coach Sigi Schmid said. “The travel right now looks like it’s going to be a little easier for us on this road trip. We’ve got a charter going in and out of Guatemala, so that’s going to give us a big help in terms of planning our schedule and doing the things we want to do as a team on a timely basis.”
Not that travel has been a problem for the third-year club. In the club’s history, they are 17-14-13 in road matches. That record includes streak-stopping wins in Columbus, Salt Lake and Kansas City over the last three seasons.
They have been particularly good on the road of late, too, winning four straight road matches across all competitions.
They have strayed a bit recently from their typical road tactics of playing attacking soccer, a tactic that allows Seattle to play the same way at home and on the road, limiting the amount of time players have to think about altering their natural playing styles. In two matches in particular that saw Seattle take a more defensive tact, in Dallas and in Monterrey, they were able to grind out two 1-0 victories to advance their causes in both MLS play and the CONCACAF Champions League.
Before including Champions League play, the Sounders FC was the third most traveled team in MLS this season, behind only the Vancouver Whitecaps and New England Revolution. However, trips to Panama, Mexico, Costa Rica and Guatemala will push them well beyond those two clubs.
They don’t have any time to rest after the New England match either. After the final whistle, the club will board a charter plane to return home Saturday night/Sunday morning so they can prepare for an important home match on Tuesday, October 4 - the US Open Cup final against the Chicago Fire.
First thing’s first for the Sounders though, as they face a desperate Vancouver team on Saturday night at Empire Stadium. To get through the rigors of the trip, they are looking at one game at a time.
“It kind of plays into your mind, but you just have to look at the next game,” midfielder Lamar Neagle said. “It’s toward the end of the year and we have to buckle down and grind out some results.”
Added Parke, “We’ve got a long road trip and a lot of big games coming up. This would be a great start to start the trip of right.”
Follow all of the travels of the Sounders right here on SoundersFC.com.