Within the Sounders FC practice facility, there is a sign that reads, “Never be satisfied.”
Servando Carrasco has taken that to heart and it has shown on the field this season.
What started as a spot start in place of Osvaldo Alonso when he missed the match against the Philadelphia Union for the birth of his second child has turned into a stretch of 11 straight starts for the third-year midfielder. Players have shuffled in and out of the lineup around him, but Carrasco has remained locked into the middle of midfield for head coach Sigi Schmid. And while he may not view it as such, his role has become that of a starter for Sounders FC.
“My role is to do my job,” Carrasco said. “That is by far the most important thing - to know what I do well and to do it consistently. That’s one of the things that the coaching staff has preached. The mark of a good player is that you know what you’re going to get every time that he steps on the field.”
That is becoming the case more and more for Carrasco. And while he has started with four different teammates in the middle of midfield, he has been able to adjust his game accordingly to not only heighten his own confidence, but also the confidence of his teammates and his coaching staff.
“Anytime you get on the field week-in and week-out, it helps your confidence and helps you get into a rhythm of play. He’s done fairly well for what he’s been asked to do,” Schmid said.
To Carrasco, each match has been an opportunity to show that he is capable of maintaining the starting role, but also a chance at a learning experience. He spoke openly early in the season about being a sponge for the players around him, learning the nuances of the central midfield position and the many different ways to interpret it from the likes of Osvaldo Alonso, Shalrie Joseph and Brad Evans.
Now those learning experiences come more from within, adding to his game with each appearance.
“Every time you play, it’s an opportunity to learn more about yourself and more about the guy next to you and grow that understanding with the rest of the guys,” Carrasco said. “You have to keep battling for the guys next to you.”
Seattle’s record with Carrasco in the lineup had been pretty remarkable until a recent string that has seen them lose three of their last four matches.
Those defeats aren’t signs of a lagging club as much as they are potholes on the journey that Sounders FC is on this season. The losing streak, like the string of injuries, will soon pass, Carrasco assures.
“There’s always going to be bumps in the road along the way, but it’s going to be about how you respond to those obstacles,” he said. “I’m never satisfied. I’m never comfortable with my possession. Every time I step on the field, it’s a privilege.”