The Seattle Sounders return home to CenturyLink Field this Saturday after slumping to a 2-0 defeat at the hands of New York Red Bulls, and they’ll be hoping to get the result against New York City FC that they couldn’t get against their local rivals. Sigi Schmid told reporters after Friday’s training session that the entire squad is healthy, except for Roman Torres. Clint Dempsey is still with the United States national team for the Copa America third place match after being dismantled by Argentina on Tuesday. Schmid said this week that he expects Dempsey to head back to Seattle on Sunday.
As for their upcoming opponents, Schmid said that he expects NYCFC to have a full squad, including their three star Designated Players. "The rumor we’ve heard is that they’ve brought everybody. Obviously we won’t find out 100% for sure, sometimes teams, when they go coast to coast, travel with 20 [players]." He said that even though they may have traveled with the team, there could be a chance that one or more of those players isn’t in the matchday roster.
For the first time in their season-and-a-half of existence, NYCFC saw all three of its DPs score in one match: last weekend against the Philadelphia Union. Villa and Lampard scored solid goals from open play after good work by teammates, while Pirlo scored one of his legendary free kicks to win the match for NYC. Schmid recognized Pirlo’s danger from set pieces, and said that "we’ve got to give away as few [fouls] as possible, and take away his time and space when we can." The Sounders coach also referred to Villa as "one of the best strikers in the league this year," and described Lampard as "a goal-dangerous midfielder" that gives NYC an extra option in that part of the pitch.
As for his own squad’s lack of incisiveness on goal, Schmid state` that there were specific training regimens in place for his players, and emphasized the mental aspect of the Sounders’ lack of goals this season. "It sounds like a broken record, but I think it’s just gonna take one game where things go in for us, and the confidence will grow. And then all of a sudden, everyone is gonna feel better." He said that putting players in front of goal as much as possible is important, in the hopes of giving those players confidence. Schmid noted how much Jordan Morris struggled at the beginning of the season, and how his first goal gave him the confidence to score more. "So it just takes something sometimes to break it, and everybody goes ‘oh yeah’ and feels better about it."
Schmid praised his players’ discipline against the Red Bulls, saying that his team did exactly what they were supposed to do...especially in the first half. "We were all on the same page together, staff and players, and I think we opened them up pretty good in the first half." He admitted that his team should have continued that positive play in the second half, and stressed that against NYCFC and beyond, "it’s a matter of continuing to believe in what we’re doing all together and execute it, and hopefully it’ll break."