This is the part where I point out that the Seattle Sounders have dominated Houston Dynamo at home from 2009 to the present (the second longest unbeaten streak at 10-0-3). One might also point out that Seattle has won twice as many matches as they’ve lost to Houston; that the Dynamo are below them in the standings; and that Seattle is better than Houston by almost every statistical measure.
But, readers might not want that. History is in the past. All that matters from Brian Schmetzer’s men and the fans that support them is going on a run that may be even less likely than the one in 2016.
Sunday’s 6:08 PM PT (FOX13+/Prime Video/ESPN+) match must start that run. A loss basically ends the chance to maintain the habit of winning.
Here’s what the Rave Green need to do to snag three points.
Play like home field matters
It wasn’t too long ago that the Sounders dominated at home. They did so against great teams. Pounding Motagua, León, New York City FC and Pumas UNAM in the CCL with wins against Galaxy, Minnesota, Vancouver, Charlotte and KC in league play.
That early 40% of the season went rather well at home. Something changed, lots changed.
Change it back. There will be more than 30,000 people rooting for victory. Feed off that energy. Play the soccer those fans expect. Great things will happen again.
When you bypass the midfield, create danger
If the midfield is having trouble controlling the ball, that’s fine. Go over the top. Jordan Morris remains good at creating danger on the run, just look at goal two against Orlando. Feed him. Feed Raúl.
Don’t let those guys drop back to get the ball. Get them the ball faster. Wide, narrow, high, whatever. Get the scoring greats the ball. Seattle doesn’t need to be a possession team to create danger. Bust out those complex 3-d passing trees and make that pressure look like traffic cones.
Don’t withdraw after scoring
There is an adage that says the most dangerous moment of the game is shortly after scoring. Seattle seems to weaken at these times, more now than any other year.
Instead of withdrawing into a shell to absorb pressure, play the style of game that got the goal. As the other side pushes forward for vengeance, bury them with another goal. Dallas did that so effectively on Saturday. Sounders can do it too.
Get Rusnák more touches in dangerous places
Watching Albert Rusnák is a joy. He’s rather talented. He seems to be enjoying things, and while we all like progressive soccer and the pass before the pass before the pass, we like goals more. Rusnák isn’t Darlington Nagbe. He’s better than that. He’s been better than that for years, and we need that now.
So whether he sits deep or plays up a line is irrelevant. What matters right now is that this offense needs the Albert Rusnák who dominated for Real Salt Lake. His free kick goal was one example. Let’s see a few more on Sunday night.
There is hope.
Seattle doesn’t face any giants for the rest of the run-in. Mostly, it is minnows in front of them. And, well, once we were kings. They can be kings again. Going 4-1-1 or winning five and making the playoffs would be a clarion call — the Sounders are back.
It’s not simple. It’s not easy.
But there’s hope.
hay fe, or whatevs