Team Celebration

Sounders can breathe a sigh of relief after succeeding in stretch of five games in 15 days

When faced with a stretch of five matches in 15 days, Sounders FC Head Coach Sigi Schmid knew it could be a character-revealing two weeks for Seattle. Now with a chance to exhale after weathering that proverbial storm, Schmid is pleased with the club’s standing after triumphing 4-2 over the Portland Timbers on Sunday to conclude the busy portion of the schedule.

“We’re 3-1-1 in our last five games in a (15)-day stretch. I think that’s what our team is,” Schmid said after leaping to first in the Supporters’ Shield and Cascadia Cup standings with a convincing win over the recently-surging Timbers.

That satisfaction of going on the road and taking care of business against the club’s biggest rival was a great exclamation point on a successful two weeks in Rave Green.

It opened at home with a 2-0 win over the Houston Dynamo with over 50,000 in attendance at CenturyLink Field. In that match, goalkeeper Stefan Frei moved into a share of the league lead with seven shutouts. He followed that up with another shutout against the Chicago Fire in the U.S. Open Cup semifinal, sending Sounders FC to its fifth Open Cup final in six seasons with a 6-0 blasting at Starfire Stadium.

While a 2-1 loss at Salt Lake and a 1-1 draw against the struggling San Jose Earthquakes had many questioning the direction Seattle was heading, those doubts were silenced with Sunday’s performance at Providence Park.

“That’s what we talked about as a team. That’s why we said to stay positive after the last game,” Schmid said. “Sometimes those things happen, but the attitude of our team is good.”

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While some grew frustrated with the talk of Seattle struggling, forward Chad Barrett embraced the heightened expectations surrounding the club.

“Expectations are high. Not just with our own team and our own fans and our own organization. People around the league expect us to be great. That’s where we want to be,” said Barrett, who scored in four of the five matches. “I’m really excited to see what we can do in the last run of games here.”

Barrett embodied the team-wide self confidence that has helped the club succeed even when faced with adverse situations.

In the five matches, seven different players scored goals, with four contributing multiple goals. Seattle outscored its opponents 14-5 and took hold of the top spot in the Supporters’ Shield with a two-point edge over second-place D.C. United.

“It’s tremendous. We ended up winning away at Portland. We ended up putting ourselves into the U.S. Open Cup final. We ended up getting seven points in league in four games,” Schmid said. “That doesn’t sound like a slump to me.”

Sounders FC will face the Colorado Rapids in its next match Saturday at 1 pm at CenturyLink Field.