Most have heard the stories of Brian Schmetzer's days as contractor, of his knack for identifying a problem and intuitively identifying a fix. His latest remodeling project has been on Occidental Avenue, specifically flipping CenturyLink Field from an address with a Welcome mat to a destination out-of-towners would just as soon avoid.
Since his hiring last summer, the CLink is The House Schmetzer Re-built. Going into Atlanta United's visit, Seattle is on the verge of claiming one of their top home unbeaten runs of all-time.
Dating back to those formative days in Memorial Stadium, the Sounders have fashioned a formidable (.716) win percentage) at home. Across all competitions, Seattle (including iterations of Sounders, plus the Storm) own 17 home unbeaten streaks of 10 or more matches. That's impressive. So is the fact that the Rave can crack the top nine on Friday.
A domicile that had seemingly had shed its fortress effect since the Supporters' Shield season of 2014 and experienced a truly shaky (5-5-1) stretch to start 2016, the CLink has been reinforced under Schmetzer's term. As head coach, he - and Nico Lodeiro - are 9-0-2 at home and overall the Sounders are 10-0-2 in the last 12 regular season and postseason fixtures.
There have very few pushovers during this run; eight of the results came against playoff qualifying teams or in postseason play. While the defense had not exactly been leaking goals (10 GA in 11 games), Schmetzer did apply a sealer coat. Hence, six clean sheets. The master craftsman, Lodeiro made it so journeymen and apprentices could complete the finish work. Seven wins have featured multi-goal totals. All told, the Sounders are living large.
Already this is one result away from Seattle's longest home unbeaten run in the top flight. Twice in the 1970s the Sounders went 13 games without a loss in Memorial and the Kingdome. That mark was matched in 2013.
The gold standard for home form remains Alan Hinton's record-setting 1980 side that reeled off 12 straight Dome victories to start the season, with a crushing goal differential of 37-8. It was during that rich vein of fortune that an 18-year-old Brian Schmetzer began his trajectory toward becoming the manager he is today.
Does it feel like the Sounders are dominating during this run, or simply businesslike; doing whatever it takes?
Top All-Time, All-Comps Seattle Home Streaks
Consecutive Matches Unbeaten
18 (9-0-9) 2005-06
16 (10-0-6) 1997-98
15 (13-0-2) 1994-95
15 (13-0-2) 2000
13 (achieved five times)
Consecutive Matches Won
7 (achieved four times)
Note: Tiebreaker/shootout results have been converted to draws
Frank MacDonald is a Seattle soccer journalist and historian. This story first appeared on his website and has been republished here with his permission.