Conditioning could play an even more important role in 2019 than it has in previous years. The biggest takeaway from Monday’s 2019 schedule being released is that 13 of the Seattle Sounders’ 34 regular-season matches will be played on no more than four days’ worth of rest. Only Atlanta United (14) play more games on such short rest, but .
The main culprit is that the Sounders will play seven midweek matches. While that is on par with previous seasons — they had six last year and seven in 2017 — the number of games on short rest does appear to be the most they’ve ever had. Last year, the six midweek games contributed to 10 games being played on short rest, while they only needed to play nine games on short rest in 2017.
Making matters worse is that eight of those short-rest matches will be played on the road, with four of them requiring cross-country travel. Historically, MLS teams rarely win when traveling cross-country on short rest.
Here are some of the particularly intimidating stretches:
May 11-June 5: After a relatively straightforward start to the season, the pace picks up here with six games in about three weeks, including four straight on the road. This stretch will be the first time the Sounders have played four straight MLS games on the road. The Sounders start off by hosting the Houston Dynamo on May 11 followed by hosting Orlando City on May 15. They then travel to the Philadelphia Union for a short-rest, cross-country game on May 18. Road games against Sporting KC (May 26), FC Dallas (June 1) and Montreal Impact (June 5) follow in quick succession. Anything more than eight points would almost have to be considered a success.
June 29-July 21: The Sounders start this stretch with a home game against the Vancouver Whitecaps and then go cross-country to play New York City FC on July 3. They follow that up with a road match against the Columbus Crew on July 6 before flying home to face reigning MLS Cup champions Atlanta United on July 14. They close out the stretch with their home game against the Portland Timbers on July 21.
Aug. 10-Aug. 23: The stretch starts simply enough with a home game against the New England Revolution, but it’s complicated by a midweek trip to play at Real Salt Lake on Aug. 14 followed by a road game at the LA Galaxy on Aug. 17. The Sounders close out the stretch with a trip to the Portland Timbers for a rare Friday night game.
Other interesting scheduling notes:
- The Sounders have only one game scheduled during an international window (June 5, at Impact). They do have three more games during the latter stages of Copa America, though (June 29 vs. Whitecaps; July 3 at NYCFC; July 6 at Crew).
- Like last year, both matches against LAFC are in quick succession. This year they play both the games in the same week (April 21 and 28), albeit with a home game against the Earthquakes in between.
- Curiously, both matches against the LA Galaxy are also played very close to each other. The Sounders visit the Galaxy on Aug. 17 and host them on Sept. 1.
- The Cascadia Cup will be perfectly balanced for the first time since 2011. The Sounders’ portion will be March 30 (at Vancouver), June 29 (vs. Whitecaps), July 21 (vs. Timbers) and Aug. 23 (at Portland).
- The Sounders will play 11 matches on national television: six on FS1, four on ESPN and one on ESPN2.
- The Sounders will host Uruguay’s Nacional in a preseason friendly on Feb. 20. Nacional is where Nicolas Lodeiro got his professional career started.
Sounders 2019 schedule
|DAY||DATE||OPPONENT||KICKOFF (PT) / NATIONAL TV|
|DAY||DATE||OPPONENT||KICKOFF (PT) / NATIONAL TV|
|Wednesday||February 20||Club Nacional (FRIENDLY)||7:30 p.m.|
|Saturday||March 2||vs. FC Cincinnati||7:00 p.m. / FS1|
|Saturday||March 9||vs. Colorado Rapids||7:00 p.m.|
|Saturday||March 16||at Chicago Fire||1:00 p.m.|
|Saturday||March 30||at Vancouver Whitecaps FC||7:00 p.m.|
|Saturday||April 6||vs. Real Salt Lake||7:00 p.m.|
|Wednesday||April 10||at Colorado Rapids||6:00 p.m.|
|Saturday||April 13||vs. Toronto FC||1:00 p.m.|
|Sunday||April 21||at Los Angeles FC||4:00 p.m. / FS1|
|Wednesday||April 24||vs. San Jose Earthquakes||7:30 p.m.|
|Sunday||April 28||vs. Los Angeles FC||12:30 p.m. / ESPN|
|Saturday||May 4||at Minnesota United FC||5:00 p.m.|
|Saturday||May 11||vs. Houston Dynamo||7:00 p.m.|
|Wednesday||May 15||vs. Orlando City SC||7:30 p.m.|
|Saturday||May 18||at Philadelphia Union||4:30 p.m.|
|Sunday||May 26||at Sporting Kansas City||3:00 p.m. / FS1|
|Saturday||June 1||at FC Dallas||5:00 p.m.|
|Wednesday||June 5||at Montreal Impact||4:30 p.m.|
|Saturday||June 29||vs. Vancouver Whitecaps FC||7:00 p.m.|
|Wednesday||July 3||at New York City FC||4:00 p.m.|
|Saturday||July 6||at Columbus Crew SC||4:30 p.m.|
|Sunday||July 14||vs. Atlanta United FC||1:00 p.m. / ESPN|
|Sunday||July 21||vs. Portland Timbers||6:30 p.m. / FS1|
|Saturday||July 27||at Houston Dynamo||5:00 p.m.|
|Sunday||August 4||vs. Sporting Kansas City||7:00 p.m. / FS1|
|Saturday||August 10||vs. New England Revolution||1:00 p.m.|
|Wednesday||August 14||at Real Salt Lake||7:00 p.m.|
|Saturday||August 17||at LA Galaxy||7:00 p.m. / ESPN2|
|Friday||August 23||at Portland Timbers||7:00 p.m. / ESPN|
|Sunday||September 1||vs. LA Galaxy||3:00 p.m. / FS1|
|Sunday||September 15||vs. New York Red Bulls||12:30 p.m. / ESPN|
|Wednesday||September 18||vs. FC Dallas||7:30 p.m.|
|Sunday||September 22||at D.C. United||5:00 p.m.|
|Sunday||September 29||at San Jose Earthquakes||4:30 p.m.|
|Sunday||October 6||vs. Minnesota United FC||1:00 p.m.|