Sounders FC @ Toronto FC
August 10, 2013, 4 p.m. PT; BMO Field in Toronto
TV/Radio: KING 5; KIRO Radio 97.3 FM; La Gran D 99.3 FM (Spanish)
In the past five years, only one team in Major League Soccer has accumulated more points on the road than Sounders FC.
However, Seattle’s prowess away from home has taken a dip in the 2013 season.
From 2009-2012, Seattle went 24-18-22 on the road for 1.47 points per match away from home. This year, the team are just 3-6-1 for 1.00 points per match.
With three of the next four matches on the road against Eastern Conference foes, that trend needs to turn upward in a hurry and Head Coach Sigi Schmid has a simple solution to cure anything that may ail Seattle away from home.
“Win,” he laughed.
Seattle has had success against teams from the Eastern Conference on the road this season, drawing the Philadelphia Union 2-2 on May 4 and topping Sporting Kansas City on May 8 on a dramatic stoppage-time winner by Djimi Traore. The other two victories have come against the Colorado Rapids on April 20 and Chivas USA on July 28.
“We’ve got to come and play, then have some good fortune along the way for us as well,” Schmid said. “We’ve already gotten some big road victories. We just now have to parlay that.”
What could help Sounders FC is a less rigorous road schedule in the second half. Although Seattle still has road matches against the LA Galaxy and Portland Timbers and one more against the top home side in the Western Conference in FC Dallas, the team has already played twice away from home against San Jose and Real Salt Lake – both of whom have home-field advantages that have stymied Seattle in years past.
Utilizing the same strategy on the road as it does at home has helped ease the adjustments of being the visiting team in previous years.
While many teams around the league pack it in and play a defensive style when on the road, Sounders FC doesn’t change its strategy just because the team isn’t in the friendly confines of CenturyLink Field and in the past that has brought success.
“We’ve just got to go out there with the same approach. We’ve always gone out with the approach when we’re on the road that we’re going to win the game,” Schmid said.
Sounders FC opens its stretch of road matches with Toronto FC on Saturday at BMO Field, then will meet the Houston Dynamo at BBVA Compass Stadium on August 17 and the Columbus Crew at Crew Stadium on August 31. In between, the lone home match is a sold-out bout with the Portland Timbers on August 25.