The World Cup break caused a disruption in the rhythm of the 2014 season for Sounders FC. Now, after a relatively light schedule over the last few weeks, the club is about to run a gauntlet of nine matches in 38 days starting on Monday against the LA Galaxy.
In that time, Seattle will meet the San Jose Earthquakes in the first sporting event at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, host the Houston Dynamo in a match that will see CenturyLink Field opened to capacity and face the Portland Timbers for the final time in the regular season. Add in the U.S. Open Cup semifinal against the Chicago Fire and there is a lot on the line for the Sounders, but they welcome that pressure.
“It’s been a strange rhythm, but beginning with the game Monday it’s going to be a hectic August for us for sure,” said Sounders FC Head Coach Sigi Schmid, who has 199 career regular season coaching victories and will be seeking his milestone 200th against the LA Galaxy on Monday.
“Guys enjoy games more than they enjoy training with me, so I’m sure they’re going to be happy to know that we have more games.”
In the Galaxy, Seattle will face a team that has found its form over the last nine matches, going 5-1-3 since May 17 to climb to fourth in the Western Conference after a slow start.
After that, the first of two matches against the Earthquakes comes on August 2 at Levi’s Stadium, the new home for the NFL’s San Francisco 49ers, in a match that will feature on NBC Sports Network.
On August 10, capacity will be expanded at CenturyLink Field for a match against the Dynamo as Seattle will look to continue its hot streak at home when attendance exceeds 50,000. Three days later, the attendance will be much smaller at Starfire Sports Stadium, but the stakes will be much higher in the Open Cup semifinal against the Fire.
To complete a stretch of five matches in 15 days, Seattle will meet Real Salt Lake at Rio Tinto Stadium on August 16, host the Earthquakes four days later, then drive south to meet the Timbers on August 24.
Finally, the hectic schedule will conclude when Seattle hosts the Colorado Rapids on August 30 before heading to California to face Chivas USA in a midweek match on September 3.
That fixture congestion has made the training schedule this week even more crucial as Sounders FC takes a deep breath before diving into the deep waters that lie ahead.
“We had an extra off day thrown in there. The guys appreciate that. It gets you that much more hungry when you come into training after a day off because you just want to get back out on the field,” Seattle defender Zach Scott said. “Even more importantly, it’s given us the chance to rest and recuperate. We got a little longer break than we would have normally had.”
In previous years, Seattle has seen success in the month of August, going 13-5-4 all-time. Over the last four seasons, that has included two unbeaten months in 2010 and 2011 and two one-loss months in 2012 (3-1-0) and 2013 (4-1-0).