Chad Marshall Kim Kee-hee 2018-08-24

Thirty matches down, four to go.


Over the course of the long MLS season, early-season matches, trips and lineups feel like ages ago. It’s hard to believe the campaign that started with three losses also included a nine-match winning streak, but that’s the nature of this league.

A closer look at the defensive personnel in each 2018 Seattle Sounders match -

The key to the Sounders’ success is found in its defensive shape – a 4-2-3-1 formation with two defensive midfielders sitting in front of smart, lumbering center backs and athletic fullbacks. Through 30 matches, the Sounders have used 20 different combinations of their goalkeeper/defenders/defensive midfielders, and the results are interesting.


MATCHDEFENSIVE PERSONNEL
LOSS, 0-1Frei; Delem, Torres, Alfaro, Nouhou; Svensson, Roldan
LOSS, 0-3Frei; Leerdam, Torres, Marshall, Nouhou; Svensson, Roldan
LOSS, 0-1Frei; Leerdam, Torres, Marshall, Francis; Svensson, Roldan
DRAW, 2-2Frei; McCrary, Torres, Marshall, Nouhou; Svensson, Roldan
WIN, 3-1Frei; Leerdam, Torres, Marshall, Nouhou; Svensson, Alonso
LOSS, 0-1Frei; Leerdam, Kim, Svensson, Nouhou; Alonso, Roldan
DRAW, 0-0Frei; Leerdam, Marshall, Kim, Nouhou; Alonso, Svensson
WIN, 2-1Frei; McCrary, Svensson, Marshall, Alfaro, Francis; Roldan, Delem
LOSS, 0-1Frei; Leerdam, Kim, Marshall, Svensson, Nouhou; Roldan, Delem
LOSS, 0-1Frei; Leerdam, Kim Marshall, Nouhou; Roldan, Delem
LOSS, 0-2Frei; McCrary, Kim, Marshall, Nouhou; Roldan, Delem
WIN, 2-1Frei; Leerdam, Marshall, Kim, Nouhou; Roldan, Lodeiro
LOSS, 1-2Frei; McCrary, Kim, Marshall, Alfaro, Francis; Alonso, Roldan
DRAW, 1-1Frei; Roldan, Kim, Marshall, Nouhou; Alonso, Lodeiro
LOSS, 2-3Meredith; McCrary, Kim, Marshall, Francis; Alonso, Roldan
WIN, 2-1Frei; McCrary, Kim, Marshall, Francis; Roldan, Delem
DRAW, 0-0Frei; McCrary, Kim, Marshall, Nouhou; Roldan, Delem
DRAW, 1-1Frei; McCrary, Kim, Marshall, Nouhou; Roldan, Delem
WIN, 2-0 Frei; Leerdam, Kim, Marshall, Nouhou, Svensson, Roldan
WIN, 1-0Frei; McCrary, Torres, Kim, Nouhou; Alonso, Svensson
WIN, 3-1Frei; Leerdam, Kim, Marshall, Nouhou; Alonso, Svensson
WIN, 2-1Frei; Leerdam, Kim, Marshall, Nouhou; Alonso, Svensson
WIN, 2-1Frei; Leerdam, Kim, Marshall, Smith; Alonso, Svensson
WIN, 5-0Frei; Leerdam, Kim, Marshall, Nouhou; Alonso, Svensson
WIN, 1-0Frei; Leerdam, Kim, Marshall, Smith; Alonso, Svensson
WIN, 3-1Frei; Leerdam, Kim, Marshall, Smith; Alonso, Svensson
WIN, 2-1Frei; Leerdam, Kim, Marshall, Smith; Alonso, Svensson
LOSS, 0-1Frei; Leerdam, Kim, Marshall, Smith; Alonso, Svensson
LOSS, 0-3Frei; Leerdam, Kim, Torres, Smith; Alonso, Svensson
WIN, 4-0Frei; Leerdam, Kim, Marshall, Nouhou; Alonso, Svensson

With Stefan Frei at goalkeeper, Kelvin Leerdam, Kim Kee-hee, Chad Marshall, and Nouhou OR Brad Smith on the back line and Ozzie Alonso/Gustav Svensson in the defensive midfield, the Sounders are 8-1-1. The lone loss came at home to the Philadelphia Union, in which Marshall exited with a head injury at halftime.


Tied atop Major League Soccer with the New York Red Bulls in goals against average, the Sounders have made a collective effort to play team defense. Head Coach Brian Schmetzer offered up his thoughts on the team's defensive outputs. 


“I think it’s a team effort," he said. "So, if the team believes that defense is important, that’s a good thing. We obviously have the creative players to score a few goals. So, if we can get the defending right, you don’t give up a goal, chances are you’re going to collect some points.”


Other tidbits:


  • The Sounders are 1-3-0 with Marshall out of the starting lineup
  • The Sounders are 9-2-1 with Alonso and Svensson paired in the defensive midfield
  • In all 11 losses this season, the Sounders have had a different set of defensive personnel
  • The most consecutive matches with the same defensive personnel was four: Frei; Leerdam, Kim, Marshall, Smith; Alonso, Svensson (3-1-0)
  • The Sounders didn’t repeat defensive personnel in consecutive matches until July: Frei; Leerdam, Kim, Marshall, Smith; Alonso, Svensson (0-0-2)
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