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Time off a chance for Sounders to rest, refocus, recharge

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The league bye affords Seattle’s players a rare two-day rest ahead of preparations for Sporting KC.

Max Aquino / Sounder at Heart

After a tumultuous start to 2018, the Seattle Sounders will have a chance to rest and reassess this weekend. After club training Saturday, the team will take Sunday and Monday off before it begins preparations for Sporting Kansas City.

With no action over the weekend, Brian Schmetzer said the club’s players needed a chance to step away from the training pitch as Seattle looks to rebound from its slow start.

“You need some time away, some time off,” Schmetzer said Friday. “These stretches of two weeks without having a game, they get sick of the coaches yelling at them, so they’ve got to have some time away and they use to be with their families, be with their kids. Then they need to be prepared to come back to work next week because it’s a work week.”

Next week’s preparations may well center around Felipe Gutierrez, who the league announced Friday as the MLS Player of the Month for March. With a league-best five goals in five matches, Gutierrez and SKC will present another large obstacle to a Sounders team hoping to jumpstart its season on the road.

Schmetzer said the club had been focusing on getting back to basics during the week. Defending, the line of confrontation and the defensive shape were all combed over by players and coaches, both on film and the training ground.

Forward Will Bruin, however, said he was mostly focusing on scoring goals. The 28-year-old said the chance for a break would provide a chance for players to clear their heads.

“You just get your mind off soccer,” Bruin said. “When things aren’t going well, you can get wrapped up in ‘what’s the answer, why isn’t it going right?’ Sometimes it’s nice just to step back and look at things from a bigger picture. I think I’ve been around this league long enough that 0-3 to start the year, it’s obviously not what you want to do, but there’s 31 games left. If you string together three or four wins, in this league you jump right to the top of the table. That’s something we know that we’re capable of doing and we’re not over-reacting.”

Does Bruin find himself watching league play when he has a day off?

“It depends,” Bruin said. “I don’t have anything planned for this weekend. I’ll sit down and watch some MLS games, but if I have something planned, I’ll just get away from (soccer). It’s different when you’re watching games and you’re 0-3 and haven’t scored a goal from being 3-0 and having scored five goals. For me, when it’s not going that well, I’ll try and stay away from it, but that’s just personal preference.”

Schmetzer hopes his players return on Tuesday fully rested and ready for a tough road test. He met questions about whether he would get a chance to relax this weekend with a grin.

“Of course not,” Schmetzer said, smiling. “The coaches don’t get breaks.”