The Seattle Sounders are preparing their minds and bodies for a physically taxing match against Sporting Kansas City on Sunday afternoon, where temperatures are expected to soar above 100 degrees.
After a tough loss to LA in US Open Cup play on Wednesday, the team used the time before traveling east to Kansas City as an opportunity to fit in a training session in the warm Southern California weather. According to head coach Sigi Schmid, the heat will have a profound effect on the game and his team is adjusting the gameplan accordingly.
“The game on Sunday is going to be a unique game because of the weather conditions,” he said on Thursday afternoon after training. “We have to manage the game a bit differently than we normally manage a game.”
For Schmid and his team, this means slowing the game down and possessing the ball. It also means being smart with the ball and of course, “finish opportunities when they’re presented.”
Captain Brad Evans says season is not lost
With two back-to-back tallies in the loss column, memories of the 5-0 rout of FC Dallas at home last week now seem all but faded. The Sounders are still searching for a turnaround with just under half a season left to go, but captain Brad Evans says his team is working harder than ever and finding solace in knowing that the playoffs are still within reach.
“We come in and we work hard every single day; we approach every game like it’s our last,” he said. “The way that we view it is that there’s still something left to be had from this season. We can still make the playoffs at this point.”
Evans believes the Sounders are poised to make a run, and that run begins on Sunday. The match at Children's Mercy Park offers the Rave Green a vital opportunity to claim three points over not only a Western Conference foe but a fringe playoff team that the Sounders will likely be battling with for a spot come the end of the season.
“This is a six-point game.” Said Evans. “We can make up some serious ground by getting a result on the road.”
Forward Jordan Morris, who is currently leading the team with seven goals in 2016, said he realizes the importance of Sunday's match as the squad looks to get back on track and climb the table. “We need three points in Kansas City and I think everyone knows that," he said.
"We just need to finish our chances and get the result.”