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Ship’s Log, April 15: Going against your own grain

Schmetzer was a more-than-typical substitute user until Saturday night.

Last Updated
4 min read
Zach Del Bello/Sounders FC Communications

In the second half against FC Dallas the Seattle Sounders took a rather calm and defensive posture. They were on the road and despite their history under Brian Schmetzer, road games are hard to gather points in.

The subs were late and only three were used.

Schmetzer said that the draw felt like two points dropped, but also took some blame for that because he’s the one that used 60% of the subs with two coming rather late.

This was unusual for Brian.

On the season he’s using 3.86 subs per match, right in the middle of the league. He’s giving subs about 20 minutes apiece. That’s in the top third in the league. By stack ranking, his subs per match is an improvement (though essentially even with 2023). By minutes per sub, he’s improved over last season’s near-worst 16 minutes per opportunity.

It’s odd for a coach with more than two decades of history, most of them under the three-sub rule and having more years with a 15-player bench than the modern 20 to make those kinds of adjustments.

But he has.

Until Saturday night. Despite having a bench that he knows is capable of attacking he went against his own grain and held men in reserve. The once wunderkind in Chú? Absent. Teves? So late as not to matter.

The free-agent forward? Also late. After Cody Baker’s vibrant assertion that he has an attack to offer even off his bad foot? Nothing. The once lethal-by-force-of-will Paul Rothrock? Confined to a strong performance with Defiance.

On the year, Schmetzer & staff showed that they were willing to trust their bench more than ever. Then, when they needed an emotional boost from a road win, they didn’t.

From the outside we won’t ever know why. It’s not that the head coach never uses his subs – he has. It’s not that there weren’t options due to injury – there were.

Instead, it’s two points dropped by a team that is supposed to be ambitiously pursuing multiple trophies, not trudging for a date with the red line.

The youth know how to win now. If the vets aren't getting it done there are three opportunities for five young men to take the field and do it.

– Dave Clark

Catching up on Sounder at Heart

Missed the weekend's Puget Sound soccer news? Here are our latest stories and our pro teams' schedules

Sounders draw 0-0

Reign lose 3-2

Defiance lose 2-0

Velocity draw 2-2

They play in the US Open Cup on April 17 against the Las Vegas Lights at 7:30 p.m. PDT. The match is on, and

Purchasing the new jersey or planning to get MLS Season Pass? Use our affiliate links to toss some coin to your bloggers.

Looking back at the news

Everything else you need to know.

Houston Dash made the biggest splash in NWSL free agency history. Now that player wants out, before she’s even spent a full transfer period with the team. The transfer window closes Friday at 9 p.m. PDT.

Emma Hayes time at Chelsea is ending with a whimper.

SaH partner Backheeled sees the continual problem with Seattle’s left side in the attack – it’s deeper than just the fullback.

How will MLS teams take advantage of the expected roster rule changes? See The Athletic.

Former USL player Raphael Ayagwa was with Egyptian club Aswan SC when they were relegated. They tried to unilaterally rework his contract, held him captive and assaulted him when he refused to sign a contract in Arabic (which he doesn't understand). He won his dispute in the FIFA DRC.

Ballard FC see Fire & Smoke in their 2024 kits. I'm hoping this is a reference to the Sheeran song from The Hobbit.

Jon Ryan is retiring a Seahawk – as he should.

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