National Audience

The Sounders play 15 of their final 16 games against Western Conference opponents. 

For the last few weeks, the Sounders have heard little about anything other than their winless streak.

For as much as the skid – now at nine straight matches – has been a topic of conversation among fans and media, it has barely breached conversations in the locker room.

“We are more worried about getting the points now and not worry about the past,” said midfielder and captain Mauro Rosales. “We have to look forward and we are ready.”

If it doesn’t appear that there is a greater sense of urgency on Saturday, it may be because the Sounders have never been ones to panic when confronted with challenges.

That’s one reason why they haven’t suffered consecutive losses in MLS play since a pair of losses to the LA Galaxy and New York Red Bulls opened the season in 2011.

“They’re all must-win games for me,” head coach Sigi Schmid said.

One dynamic that does add extra importance to the nationally televised match on Saturday against the Colorado Rapids is that the Sounders play 15 of their final 16 games against Western Conference opponents. Under the new schedule format that sees the Sounders face each Western Conference foe three times and each team from the East just once, the matches within their conference go a longer way in determining playoff position at the end of the season.

With so much weight on those matches within the conference, a lot can happen to determine Seattle’s fate before the end of the season.

“At the end of the day, the way the schedule worked out this year, everything is within our own hands,” Schmid said.

Rosales echoed that sentiment, noting that strong momentum going into the playoffs is more important than a hot streak at midseason.

“Obviously we want to win every game. It’s not a good thing that we can’t get the three points, but it’s more important that we are winning games in the end of the season,” he said.

As they have been all season, the Sounders remain confident that they have the pieces in place to break out of their slump and convert a nine-match winless streak to a stretch of three unbeaten with just one result on Saturday.

“We are strong. We know tomorrow is a good chance, a good opportunity, to change this road that we’ve been on this last month,” Rosales said.

Kickoff is scheduled for 8 pm Pacific from CenturyLink Field. The match will be shown live on NBC Sports Network, with local radio coverage on 97.3 KIRO FM.

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