Román Torres PHI
USA Today Sports

Seattle Sounders grind out scoreless draw on short rest in cross-country road match against Philadelphia Union

When addressing the media following Saturday’s scoreless draw against the Philadelphia Union at Talen Energy Stadium in Chester, Penn., Seattle Sounders Head Coach Brian Schmetzer encouraged onlookers to look beyond the stat sheet.

A quick glance at the final numbers shows a dominant home performance in every category aside from goals. The Union outshot (20-6), out-passed (637-294) and out-possessed (67.8% - 32.2%) the Sounders for the entirety of the match, but Schmetzer factored in every extenuating circumstance.

In the end, the Sounders rolled out a depth-heavy squad in a cross-country battle against one of the league’s best sides on short rest and earned a point. Following pair of home wins on Saturday and Wednesday, respectively, the Sounders concluded the eight-day stretch with seven points. As Schmetzer noted, “I don’t think there is any team in the league that won’t take seven points in a week.”

“I can’t ask for anything more from my guys,” Schmetzer added. “We flew out on two days rest and for them to put on a performance like that, and some guys who played all three games, it was a monster performance.”

Goalkeeper Stefan Frei recorded his fifth shutout of the 2019 MLS season on Saturday evening. | USA Today Sports

The Rave Green rolled out in an unusual 5-3-1-1 formation, which featured three center backs (Kim Kee-hee and Román Torres, who started on Wednesday, were joined by Jonathan Campbell), with Nouhou and Saad Abdul-Salaam sitting high on the flanks. The Roldan brothers and Jordy Delem occupied the midfield, with Nicolás Lodeiro sitting under Will Bruin.

“We were concerned a little bit about Kim [Kee-Hee] and Román [Torres], they have played a lot of minutes,” Schmetzer said of the formation shift. “So the reason for it was put an extra center back and carry the lid and allow our outside backs do some of the work up the wings and I thought it worked well.”

After a successful week, the Sounders, who currently sit at second place in the Western Conference with 26 points on a 7-1-5 record, have a couple days of rest before heading back to the road. Saturday’s draw in Pennsylvania marked the first of four consecutive road matches for the Sounders.

“This game was an opportunity for us to really set the tone on what we want to achieve on the road on these four games,” goalkeeper Stefan Frei said. “I said we’ve got to keep putting things in the bank whether it’s one point or three points.”

Next up, the Sounders visit Sporting Kansas City on Sunday, May 26 before a two-match swing at FC Dallas Saturday, June 1 and the Montreal Impact on Wednesday, June 5.