To this point in preseason, the Seattle Sounders have had to be content with the usual training and intra-squad scrimmages. The limitations in travel due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic mean the Sounders haven’t even been able to meet up with other MLS sides as they have in previous years.
On Tuesday, the they were finally able to get in some game time against their USL affiliate Tacoma Defiance. Over the course of two 70-minute scrimmages, the Sounders were able to notch 5-1 and 3-0 victories.
“It’s good for the first-team guys to get a game against a different opponent,” head coach Brian Schmetzer said. “It’s good for me to take a look at some of the Defiance kids.”
Schmetzer said he was encouraged by what he saw from his attacking players. Will Bruin had a goal and two assists, while Fredy Montero had two goals. That is especially important given the Sounders plan to implement a two-forward formation this year.
“The attacking movements are good,” Schmetzer said. “There’s some things we still want to fine tune. Obviously Raul [Ruidiaz] is not here. But there’s some things I definitely like.”
The move to a two-forward set means that the Sounders have used much of the preseason to work on how the players will be able to adjust to the new look. The Sounders have used the 4-2-3-1 formation almost exclusively since Schmetzer took over in mid-2016. So this scrimmage and upcoming matches will be vital as the Sounders prepare for their first league match on April 16
“A lot of the work we’ve done in preseason has been [about] where is the spacing on the field with two forwards,” Schmetzer said. “So a lot of that work, we won’t really know until we get four or five games into the season.
“Our next game is against Portland, so that’ll be a tough match, so we just need to continue to push minutes.”
- The Sounders announced that left back Nouhou Tolo will remain with the team for the duration of the preseason. Nouhou was scheduled to join Cameroon for international duty, but an agreement was reached to allow him to stay with the Sounders.
- The entire 2021 MLS schedule is expected to be released today, according to a report from Steven Goff of the Washington Post. The schedule had been delayed for a variety of reasons, including the negotiations between the MLSPA and owners over a new collective bargaining agreement.