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Better body language might help Sounders turn around skid

“We’re trying things but they haven’t clicked so we’re making small adjustments.” — Stefan Frei

Max Aquino / Sounder at Heart

TUKWILA, Wash. — After going through the film and having a couple days to stew on the result, Brian Schmetzer was still frustrated with how the Seattle Sounders 2-1 loss to Austin FC played out.

“The goals we gave up I didn’t like,” Schmetzer told reporters following Friday’s training session. “I thought we could have done better. Some of the stuff yeah, it was OK. Some of it was better than I thought it would be on rewatch, but not by much.”

What Schmetzer found particularly puzzling was how the Sounders gave up both goals at points in the game where they seemed to be taking control.

“The curious thing was that from the 28th minute, it took us that long to get our feet right,” he said. “But we started having good possession, good play, a couple of good chances and then they score. It was kinda counterintuitive. There were some good parts, but then they score.”

Despite the recent run of frustrating results, goalkeeper Stefan Frei insisted that the mood around the team has remained high and that players continue to work hard in training. One thing he suggested could potentially use some work, however, is the way players interact with one another on the field. With all the lineup changes, teammates are still trying to find what works.

“There’s two kinds of gelling,” Frei said. “There’s the kind where you know each other’s tendencies. The other is knowing how to lift players up, how you interact with them. That’s something I saw creeping in against Houston, which was a frustrating game.

“They are small details, like throwing up your hands or giving your teammate a clap. If you do that 30 times in a match it accumulates to something. It either accumulates as negativity or something positive where you’re encouraging someone.”

Just tweaking some of those interactions could be the thing that gets the Sounders back on track.

“When things aren’t going your way, you look for things that can make things go your way,” Frei said. “That’s the run we’re on right now. We’re trying things but they haven’t clicked so we’re making small adjustments. As a team or as individuals, we’re trying to do things here and there, things you can add, whether it’s communication or positivity, and hopefully we can find solutions to problems.”

Nouhou is “ready to go”

One player who might be in line for a bigger role against the Vancouver Whitecaps is Nouhou, who came off the bench for the first time since missing a month while recovering from malaria. Schmetzer deemed Nouhou “ready to go” but also acknowledged that his left back might be something short of 100%.

“He feels great, he’s happy to be back,” Schmetzer said. “He feels he can contribute, we want him to contribute. The challenge is it’s his first game back after over a month after a serious disease. Let’s see how the game goes, how things shake out.”

Ruidíaz probably at least another week away

Raúl Ruidíaz was able to participate in most of Friday’s training session but has not yet been cleared to fully participate and is unlikely to play this week. Schmetzer said Ruidíaz would likely resume full training next week and then would be assessed. Ruidíaz hasn’t played since April 15 after suffering a hamstring injury the following week.

“Raúl is getting closer,” Schmetzer said. “He’ll be in full training next week. That will be good news. We want to make sure he completes x amount of full trainings. With games coming fast and furious, sometimes the training weeks are different. We’ll have to get him through a few of those before we put him on the field.”

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