Seattle is in a very tough patch of MLS play. In their last five league games a 0-3-2 record with a negative six goal differential have watched them fall from a clear first tier team in the SB Nation MLS Power Rankings with an average ranking of 2.26 to one that could be out of the top six. Once the dominant team in Sagarin they are now ranked 8th. The Fan Confidence poll is plummeting (now at 75).
Yes, there were two good wins in the US Open Cup nestled in that stretch. There was also a loss in the Reserve League to the northern rival that has now moved ahead of the Sounders by both total points and by points per match. There's something wrong in Seattle.
Probably a lot of little somethings. We've entered a trend. And there isn't really a lot of time to fix things. In the next three weeks the team will be on the road for four of six matches. This will reduce training time dramatically, particularly because one of those trips is back to the Eastern Time Zone.
Maybe dropped points during that run are to be expected, but they are no longer acceptable. Dropping points during that stretch could be the end of the Open Cup run, and would put Seattle in a ten match funk.
There are few corrections available.
Get Healthy - Seattle is out a starter at right back, a starter a keeper, a part time starter at left back and a part time starter at centerback. The woes are particularly in defense. Is getting healthy really enough? Or is the current depth enough?
Add A Body - The transfer window opens in just over a week. Seattle's tradition of targeting a player or two a few transfer windows out may need to be scrapped and instead the brain trust's trip to Argentina could add someone now. Remember though, if this added player or two is to make more than the minimum the Sounders have to lose one of their current players, maybe more.
Internal Lineup Changes - A handful of players have yet to see MLS playing time. in significant amounts. Would playing a Servando Carrasco, Roger Levesque, Mike Seamon, Michael Tetteh, Andrew Duran, Andrew Weber or Sammy Ochoa shift the results?
Tactical and Formation Change - Sigi's system is fairly stable over the years. The hybrid 4-2-3-1/4-4-2 is dependent on great flank play, a large body up top to create space up top, a defensive stopper, a box-to-box mid and a backline that communicates to adjust to counters. Can something else be tried with this personnel and do they have time to implement it?
It's Not Broken - A chunk of bad matches in MLS can also just be a matter of parity and luck. Maybe nothing needs to change.
Other? - I don't have all the ideas. Maybe you've got something else in mind.
What would you do? How would you do it? Or does the slide continue?