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Sounder Strategy: Subdue St. Lou

Away from home, Seattle's attack can come alive.

Last Updated
6 min read
Sounders FC Communications

Disappointment at home has become far too commonplace for the Sounders. The road offers a respite, as Seattle has two wins in their last three matches with an offense free of the home doldrums. Playoff position is on the line against St. Louis. CITY has shared the Sounders’ injury struggles, but they are finally healthy and looking for revenge against the Seattle team that handed them two tough losses in 2023. Let’s look at why the offense sputtered last weekend against Vancouver, and how the Sounders can stay perfect against St. Louis.

Sussing out Seattle

The Sounders rewarded themselves with a rare early goal against Vancouver. On the front foot with possession in the attacking half, Seattle endeavored to break the crowded mid-block of Vancouver’s 3-4-3. João Paulo was able to pass over the midfield and exploit the open spaces to either side of Vancouver’s back three, opening gaps for attackers to get into the box:

João Paulo finds Alex Roldan out wide, pulling defender Tristan Blackmon out and creating opportunities for Albert Rusnák and Obed Vargas to get into the box.

Cristian Roldan was able to find a similar pass that split Vancouver’s midfield and pulled their narrow back three apart on the goal sequence. The Whitecaps could not deal with the ensuing madness in the box and Jordan Morris took advantage:

Roldan finds Vargas in space on the right wing, leading to Morris’ goal.

Sadly, most of the next 80 minutes were a slog. Seattle did not keep the pressure on with possession and found it difficult to punish Vancouver in transition moments as well. In this sequence, Raúl Ruidíaz earned a dangerous counterattacking opportunity by picking the pocket of Andrés Cubas, but playing safe killed the opportunity:

The Sounders pass up the opportunity to play Morris behind the defense.

Could Ruidíaz play a ball on the ground behind the back of the defender turning to Jordan Morris? Could he clip a ball over the top and let Morris try to win it ahead of an onrushing goalkeeper? Instead, the Sounders passed cautiously out to the left wing where there was no attacking support until Nouhou arrived to fill the void. The opportunity had long since fizzled.

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