Sounders feel 'luck is changing' after recent performances have Seattle back in playoff positioning


The Seattle Sounders gutted out a 2-1 win over St. Louis CITY SC on Saturday night, their third straight against their nascent Western Conference opponents, and in doing so leapfrogged them into a playoff position.

It’s still only a third of the way through the MLS regular season, but after a tough opening few months to the campaign, recent results have offered more proof of concept for Head Coach Brian Schmetzer and his team. Seattle defeated the USL Championship title-holders Phoenix Rising FC midweek to advance to the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open Cup before going on the road and taking all three points from last year’s first place team in the West.

“We mentioned it to the group,” said Schmetzer. “We knew the position we were in in the standings. To me, it’s more important that the team starts to play a little better. Our performances have gotten a little better, there are still some dips and we’re not as consistent as we’d like to be but scoring two goals on the road gives you a good chance of winning.

“[St. Louis] were a little unfortunate that they didn’t score an equalizer,” he added. “Our luck is changing.”

Seattle took control of the match with two goals in three minutes in the second half highlighted by a breakaway finish by Jordan Morris, who scored in his second straight match in vintage Morris fashion. The Sounders had good linkup play in midfield while Morris sprinted in behind the St. Louis defense. Once he’s in behind, no one in MLS is catching him.

“That’s a big strength of mine, getting in behind teams,” said Morris. “I feel like I haven’t created enough of those opportunities where I get in 1-on-1 with the goalie.

“The ball that Albert \[Rusnák\] put in was perfect…We’ve been talking about trying to link up in terms of getting the ball in behind more directly to goal and it was good to see that happen.”

Sounders midfielder Cristian Roldan mentioned the ebbs and flows of the game and how so much of the outcome derives from momentum and which team can capitalize on it. Roldan, whose deflected cross led to the own goal that opened the scoring, was proud of the way the group managed to wrap up the result, even if it was more complicated than they would have liked.

“We know how difficult it is to play on the road,” Roldan said. “We talked about maybe getting one chance to score a goal. One bounce goes your way and the other is great combination play to get in behind and score a goal and then the momentum just shifts. That’s the story of our season, that’s the story of our league.”

The Sounders have a massive opportunity now to test themselves and make it three wins in a row as they welcome Western Conference-leading Real Salt Lake to Lumen Field on Wednesday (7:30 p.m. PT; MLS Season Pass on Apple TV | TICKETS). RSL defeated Seattle 2-0 in Utah just 10 days ago and is coming off a thrilling 3-3 road draw on Saturday night after rallying from a 3-0 second-half deficit to take a point at FC Dallas.

“The first goal is to make the playoffs and then go on a run from there,” said Morris. “It feels good to be in that position, but we know that we can be higher and keep climbing the table…To jump over St. Louis [in the standings] is a good first step, but we’ll enjoy this and then we’ve got a big game against RSL at home and we need another three points to keep climbing. It’s a good start, but we’ve got a long way to go.”

Added Schmetzer: “There is momentum building, but RSL is a good team. We have to back up some of those performances with a good performance against RSL.”



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