Sounders FC Head Coach Sigi Schmid smiled on Friday when he was asked how he would label the formation he used over the final 15 minutes of a 2-0 win over Real Salt Lake at CenturyLink Field.
“The amoeba?” he smiled. “It sort of floats around and moves wherever you want.”
At times, it looked like a standard 4-4-2. Others like a 4-3-3 or 4-2-3-1 and even a 4-1-3-2.
Whatever it was, Schmid had a brief glimpse at the potential of his attacking squad when he was finally able to have Eddie Johnson, Clint Dempsey, Obafemi Martins and Lamar Neagle on the field together.
Seattle was holding on to that 2-0 lead late in the match and didn’t have Brad Evans, Shalrie Joseph or the newly acquired Adam Moffat available and had already subbed out Mauro Rosales. And part of the strategies of the formation was geared around the 4-3-3 that Salt Lake switched into at halftime. So the exact formation that will be used once everyone becomes available is yet to be seen.
It helped that Seattle is so heavily stocked with flexible players that can play so many different roles within a given formation.
“They’re versatile enough and there’s enough hard work there that they can place-change with each other,” Schmid said. “I think those things can get done.”
Versatile is one way to put it, but Neagle was quick to point out another important factor. Each player was willing to put the extra effort to also get the job done defensively.
“What are you going to do? You’ve got Clint and Eddie coming in. I was just going to hang back and let them do what they wanted to do,” he smiled. “After 70 minutes, I was going to relax a little bit and play some defense. That’s fine for me.”
With Joseph likely the only player who is not likely to be available next week when Sounders FC meets the LA Galaxy at the StubHub Center, Schmid will take the time this week to get a better look at how he wants to use his players, going forward.
While Friday’s match is important, the MLS Cup Playoffs are where Seattle’s success will ultimately be measured this season, so Schmid really has six weeks to determine what form that amoeba will take.
“We still have to work on it,” Schmid said. “We get some days to train on it and we can see which way is going to be the best way to play with all of them because we have to have the right balance.”