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Sounders aware their second-place standing is 'a little false'

While not satisfied with how they've been playing, Sounders know they are entirely in control of their destiny during stretch run.

Last Updated
2 min read
Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY

TUKWILA, Wash. – Since their 5-1-1 start, the Seattle Sounders have struggled for anything approaching consistency. Their 25 points in the 21 games they’ve played in the meantime are good for just the 12th-best total in West over that span.

Still, they currently find themselves sitting second in the Western Conference, seven points behind first-place St. Louis City and one point ahead of both LAFC and Real Salt Lake.

Tempting as it may be to focus on the standings, the Sounders aren’t letting themselves off quite that easy, especially as they prepare to embark on a three-game road trip that starts with a match against fellow playoff contender FC Dallas on Saturday.

“I’ll go on record saying it’s a little false,” Schmetzer said following Tuesday’s training session, acknowledging that many teams have played at least one fewer game. “We’re in second with six games to go, that’s positive, that’s glass half-full, that’s the Pollyanna viewpoint. The reality is we have to take care of business. We have four on the road and two at home. That’s reality. We have to work hard in training, work hard in games to steal some points in this three-game stretch and close out with a couple of good games at home.”

Last year, a similar road trip is what ultimately sunk the Sounders’ chances. The Sounders claimed just one point from a three-game trip that took them to the LA Galaxy, Portland Timbers and Orlando City in late August and never recovered.

One big difference is how the Sounders head into this year’s three-game trip. In 2022, they went in on a two-game losing streak and having lost 6 of 8. This time, the Sounders are on a three-game unbeaten streak and have lost just 2 of 9, albeit including four ties.

“It’s up to us these last six games,” Sounders midfielder Albert Rusnák said. “It will be on us. If we take care of our games, we don’t really need to look at the other games.”

While Schmetzer was unwilling to make a prediction out of fear of “jinxing” anything, he did seem to indicate that Cristian Roldan is likely to at least travel with the team to FC Dallas.

“He looks really good in training,” Schmetzer said, while adding that Roldan would only return when he’s fully fit and without limitations. “I’m not going to temper him. He has to come back 100% or he doesn’t come back.”

Returning internationals

Alex Roldan has already returned to the Sounders after El Salvador finished their slate of Nations League games during the international window. Roldan played all 180 minutes.

Nouhou helped lead Cameroon to a 3-0 win over Burundi in Africa Cup of Nations qualifying, starting at left back and playing all 90 minutes. He is expected to meet the Sounders in Texas.

Raúl Ruidíaz is expected to return to Sounders training by Thursday. He did not play in Peru's World Cup qualifier against Paraguay. Peru plays Brazil on Tuesday night.