WASHINGTON, D.C — The Seattle Sounders practiced here on Saturday, ahead of their matchup against DC United. The conditions at DCU’s training complex were fairly mild, and the late start time Sunday (8 p.m. local time) should ensure that the heat and humidity don’t play a factor in the game.
The Sounders look to put Wednesday’s disappointing 0-0 draw against FC Dallas behind them. Looking back at the game, head coach Brian Schmetzer thought the team simply wasn’t effective in attack.
“We didn’t create enough chances,” Schmetzer said. “I think the guys were still feeling the effects of Sunday-Wednesday, the two-day turnaround. We gave them a day off mentally to reboot, so hopefully we’ll get that same energy and enthusiasm in the attacking half.”
Left back Brad Smith, who was rested on Wednesday, agreed that the team wasn’t as sharp as they could have been against Dallas, but said the team had a good training session today and they’re ready for the challenge against DCU.
“We wanted to get a better result leading into this away game,” Smith said. “It was a tough game and we weren’t ourselves on the day and didn’t get the goals. We put that behind us and go and get ready for tomorrow.
It wasn’t all negative, of course, as the Sounders were able to secure their first shutout since July 27 and the goals for the game will be much the same.
“Keep another clean sheet, that’s number one,” Schmetzer said. “We have enough firepower to score a goal or two. We’ll have to make sure that both sides of the ball are working in conjunction with each other tomorrow.”
The Sounders may be forced to do some significant rotation given the schedule congestion, and with centerback Xavier Arreaga serving his one-game suspension after being sent off towards the tail end of the game versus FC Dallas.
“Certainly three game weeks are challenging from a lot of different perspectives,” Schmetzer said. “But everybody knows the drill, we’re not surprised by anything. The guys are used to it by now so there is a little bit of comfort there just knowing what they’re about to experience.”
The game will give the Sounders their first — and only — chance to face star striker Wayne Rooney. Rooney joined DC United after they played the Sounders last year, and he is leaving MLS in January to join Derby County as a player-coach. ... Roman Torres will join the Sounders at their next training session next week, having completed his 10-game suspension for PED use.