“It was a combination of being patient but having a sense of urgency,” he said.
While that certainly applied for those specific 90 minutes at Lumen Field, Morris’ statement is a microcosm of the Sounders’ approach to the final third of the MLS regular season. Seattle has the talent. The club has the experience and the mental fortitude to keep climbing the Western Conference table and push their league-record playoff streak to 14 consecutive seasons.
The formula, as Morris alluded to, is to stay even-keeled but take opportunities when they’re presented, as the Sounders did on Tuesday night. And with how much parity there is in the league, fortunes can change rapidly.
The Sounders entered the evening in ninth place, two spots outside the postseason picture. Three points later, they are in sixth and within just three points of hosting a playoff match with a game in hand.
“We knew the importance of this game and trying to come out on the front foot,” said Morris. “Sometimes when you’re in a tough spell like this, it’s about how hard you work. I thought the guys worked really hard today.”
It wasn’t a vintage Sounders win, and they’ll be the first to admit that. Albert Rusnák said as much postgame. But with every point vital as the season winds down, style points count for very little.
“The performance probably wasn’t up to our standards,” said Rusnák, “but at this point in the season and with a good amount of losses in the last few games that we’ve played, it was all about winning, getting three points and moving up in the table.”
Seattle came into the week with four losses in its last five matches. The 2022 Concacaf Champions League winners were in need of some momentum, and Tuesday’s victory and clean sheet demonstrated just how focused this group is to push for more hardware.
“After we won the Concacaf Champions League, we became a target for every MLS team,” said Rusnák. “We became a target every week.”
READY FOR RSL
Join us at our Heritage match as we go head-to-head with Real Salt Lake and give a nod to our early Sounders days. Come early to join Soundcheck and get a limited run throwback hat presented by WaFd at the gate.
Added Head Coach Brian Schmetzer: “They are not resting on the laurels of CCL. They want to play well, they want to play better and see how far we can get.”
The Sounders will travel east on Saturday for a matchup against former assistant and current Atlanta United Head Coach Gonzalo Pineda (12:08 p.m. PT; ABC, ESPN Deportes, 93.3 KJR FM, El Rey 1360AM) before three straight matches against teams, like FC Dallas, who are in the Western Conference playoff hunt.
Schmetzer is confident his team can replicate Tuesday’s gritty victory and string some positive results together with just 11 matches in the season remaining. A streak that will require, yet again, patience but with a sense of urgency.
“It’s all about the character in that room,” Schmetzer said. “That’s the only thing I can say. Those guys want to win, I can’t say it any simpler. Those guys want to win.”