August Record: 4-1-0
MLS Results: vs. FC Dallas (3-0); @ Toronto FC (2-1); @ Houston Dynamo (1-3); vs. Portland Timbers (1-0); @ Columbus Crew (1-0)
MLS Record: 12-8-4 (13-11-5 overall).
Traditionally, Sounders FC heats up in the summer months and August was no different.
Four wins in five matches rocketed Seattle from seventh in the West to within a reasonable claim of contending for the Supporters' Shield in third place.
Seattle was already considered a playoff contender despite their seventh-place standing because of a solid roster and favorable schedule. However the addition of Clint Dempsey on August 3 shifted expectations and helped lift the Sounders to new heights.
“I think a lot of it has been character and a lot of it has been defense. Our last two games we’ve pitched shutouts and that’s been important,” Head Coach Sigi Schmid said. “We need to start getting clean sheets because if we want to win a championship, our defense needs to carry us there. That’s what’s knocked us out the last two years in MLS playoffs is going on the road and taking three goals.”
Although he has yet to contribute on the scoresheet, Dempsey’s presence in the locker room and on the field has made a clear difference for Sounders FC.
When he was introduced prior to the August 3 match against FC Dallas, the team carried the momentum from the emotion surrounding the occasion to a dominating performance against a Dallas side that just months earlier was leading the West itself.
Throughout August, Seattle continued its run of success at home with victories over Dallas and Portland to extend its unbeaten streak at CenturyLink Field to nine matches. However, the Sounders also shook the perception that they had not found their stride away from home with a 2-1-0 record to give them the most road wins of any team in MLS at 5-7-1.
Eddie Johnson led the team with three goals and one assist, scoring or assisting in all four matches he played in. Mauro Rosales had one goal and three assists, setting up Johnson for goals in consecutive 1-0 wins over Portland and Columbus to close out the month, regaining the connection that made them such a dynamic combination in 2012.
Still carrying several games in hand on the top teams in the West, Seattle is a confident group that is looking to make a charge over the final two months of the season.
“We feel good about it, but we have to continue to get wins,” Schmid said. “We want to make sure we take advantage of those opportunities because we are behind the other teams in games and we want to continue to win.”
Now with another grueling month on the horizon, Sounders FC opens the September schedule with Chivas USA at CenturyLink Field on Wednesday. Seattle will play four of the five matches in September at home, hosting the Chicago Fire, Real Salt Lake and New York Red Bulls after Wednesday’s match. The lone road match comes against the LA Galaxy, setting up for a pair of potentially table-shifting matches against RSL and LA in the middle of the month.
With five wins in its last six matches, though, Seattle is as poised as ever to make a run.
“I think once you start to get on a roll, winning breeds winning. That’s the point we’re at and we’re pretty confident now,” defender Zach Scott said. “We know that it’s going to take a lot of hard work when we go into these games, but it’s awesome to play in front of our home fans. We’re excited to go back home.”