The Sounders FC is the best club in Major League Soccer over the last 34 matches.
However, of late they have looked less like the one that has gone 20-7-7 over the last stretch equivalent to one MLS season and it’s something that they are looking to rectify quickly.
Over their last five, they have just two points to show for themselves, their worst five-game stretch in club history. That stretch was emphasized by a 4-1 loss at the hands of the expansion Montreal Impact on Saturday and the Sounders are looking to turn it around quickly against Sporting Kansas City on Wednesday night at CenturyLink Field.
“The most important thing is that we need to play better soccer than we played in Montreal,” Sounders FC head coach Sigi Schmid said. “That was a disappointing effort on our part. I know the team’s not happy with it and we have to put the ship right on Wednesday.”
The slump dropped the Sounders from the top record in the league to just seventh overall and fourth in the Western Conference. While still quite certainly in the playoff hunt, the most recent stretch has instilled a greater sense of urgency in the locker room as the Sounders look to return to the top of the standings.
“We’ve got to start over. We haven’t won in five games, so it’s important that we come back here and get off to a good start,” defender Jeff Parke said. “The longer we go without points, the further we fall behind the better teams in the league.”
Their attention shifts quickly away from that five-game stretch and to what they are capable of doing to regain their footing and get back to the winning form that had them at 7-1-1 through nine matches this season.
After outscoring their opponents 13-3 in their first nine matches, they have since allowed ten goals while scoring just four. While injuries and a busy schedule have contributed to those inconsistencies in performance, the players will point to themselves in explaining why the results haven’t come.
“We are not creating the same soccer that we created last year or the first part of this season,” midfielder Mauro Rosales said. “We’ve had problems keeping possession – we’ve had possession in many games, but it’s not the same quality.”
The team is optimistic about turning around their season, but knows it will be difficult against Sporting Kansas City. While Seattle has the league’s best record in the last 34 games, Kansas City is only one point behind at 19-6-9 over the same period.
“They’re just a very aggressive team in terms of their overall approach to the game,” Schmid said. “They try to cause havoc in your box whenever possible and hope through that pressure that eventually a mistake occurs.”
The Sounders may be aided on defense by the potential returns of Patrick Ianni and Leo Gonzalez from injury while Adam Johansson is getting closer to getting back on the field each day.
Regardless of who is on the field, it will be an urgent squad trying to get onto the right track and put the five-game winless streak in their rearview mirror.
“We can’t think about the last five games. We have to be thinking about how we can do better the rest of the season,” Rosales said. “We know it is going to be difficult, but we still can be good and finish in a good position.”
Kickoff is slated for 7 pm Pacific with television coverage on KONG 6/16 and the radio broadcast on 97.3 KIRO FM.