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Sounders look to bounce back with stretch of road matches ahead

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The Seattle Sounders have a challenging week ahead as the team travels to the East Coast to take on D.C. United on Saturday (4:30 p.m. PT; Watch on MLS Season Pass on Apple TV, 950 KJR AM, El Rey 1360AM) and the Philadelphia Union on Tuesday.

“We know this stretch is huge,” said forward Jordan Morris. “And playing two games on the road against really good teams is not going to be easy.”

It has been a bumpy road for the Sounders so far this season with the team only having one win to show for after eight matches.

“We have to find a way to turn that around,” said Morris. “Especially the last game, against a rival at home, losing the way we did was not acceptable.”

The Sounders currently sit in 12th place out of 14 clubs in the Western Conference after last Saturday’s 2-0 loss against the Vancouver Whitecaps. So, identifying alterations in the team’s approach to recent matches has been a focus during this week’s training.

Increasing cohesion is something the team is looking to improve upon moving forward.

“We're maybe playing more as individuals versus a collective and when we're at our best work, we work as a collective group,” said Morris. “I think the main message is, be united as a group, work hard for each other, celebrate the little things and get back to what we're good at.”

Morris believes the extended away trip will benefit exactly that.

“It's good to be together as a group for an extended period of time,” he said. “I think that could be helpful in terms of bonding together.”

The coaching staff also recognizes their significance in terms of match outcomes and how they can impact results as the team looks ahead to the remainder of the season.  

“We have to continue to train what we believe in. I thought at the back end of last season we ended up in second place with a lot of the same group playing a certain way and being really solid in what we want it to look like and that hasn't quite come out enough lately, especially in the final third,” said Assistant Coach Andy Rose. “So, [we need to] continue to work, continue to give the players confidence, continue in training to really push the levels, push the standards, make sure everybody's on the same page and bought in and reward guys that are doing that.” 

A couple daunting road tests on the horizon, the team’s mindset is to take it game by game, with their main priority being Saturday's match against D.C. United.

“All focus has to be on D.C. and really go in there with the belief that we can get three points,” said Rose. “We understand it's going to be a really tough game. They've got a new coach this season, a really good coach, and they play with a ton of energy and a lot of belief. So, for us, it needs to be really thinking about the fundamentals and ensuring that technically, we're really sound on the ball.”

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