clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Sounders resolve to start fast, defend Lumen

Poor home results have hampered Sounders each of past two seasons.

SOCCER: MAY 04 CONCACAF Champions League Final - Pumas UNAM at Seattle Sounders Photo by Jeff Halstead/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

SEATTLE — It’s unclear if Seattle Sounders head coach Brian Schmetzer is the type to make a list of New Year’s resolutions, but there are a couple of clear goals for the team on the eve of 2023 MLS regular season.

Get off to a good start, and re-establish home-field advantage.

Coming on the heels of the Sounders’ first-ever failure to secure an invite to the MLS post season, the team identified slow in-game starts and dropped points at home as glaring problem areas that need tending to, if they don’t want to see a repeat of the slog that was the 2022 regular season.

The last two seasons, the Sounders have dropped points in exactly half of their regular-season matches at Lumen, and Schmetzer said that is something they need to address.

“Part of the bigger conversation that we’re starting this year: trying to return Lumen Field to be a real fortress a place that teams that don’t want to come in to play us, or teams don’t think they can steal points off us,” Schmetzer said. “I think that over the course of the last couple of years, there have been some teams that have come in here and grabbed points. So we’re going to try to reverse that trend.”

The Sounders know that the season is more than the first couple of games, particularly with a new, month-long competition that could add significant games to their plate. But midfielder Albert Rusnak said they are eyeing these first two matches to put down a marker.

“The season is a marathon, but it’s important to start on the right foot so we’ll be looking to win tomorrow, especially at home,” Rusnak said. “It’s important that we start brightly at home and we have two home games. We don’t want to look past Colorado, but we’re aware of the fact that we need to be much better, especially at home.”

The Sounders said they’ve put the disappointment of the short stay at the Club World Cup behind them, and the early intense environment could help them get off to a good start.

“[Preseason has] been a grind for sure, having to get ready for the Club World Cup earlier than a normal regular season,” winger Jordan Morris said. “I hope that lead-up will give us a little bit of advantage coming into the season. It’s been a great preparation and I think we’ll show that tomorrow.”

Rusnak said the team is eager to see the fans out supporting the team, and they’re hoping to start the match quickly. But much like the season, the match won’t be decided in the opening minutes.

“The first few minutes can be a little bit hectic, everyone is full of energy and emotions and wants to give it everything,” Rusnak said. “At the same time, we have to keep our cool and know that the game is 90 minutes long and not just about the first 15-20 minutes.”

Whatever happens in the opener, Schmetzer said the goal is to set the team up well for the season.

“This is a long season, if we don’t get a result here or there, nobody is going to panic,” Schemetzer said. “Certainly it is important to start the season well. That’s one of the tests that’s going to be there for the team: Can we get the team in a good run of form early in the year?”

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Sounder At Heart Weekly Roundup newsletter!

A twice weekly roundup of Seattle Sounders and OL Reign news from Sounder at Heart