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Sounder Strategy: Chicago style

The Sounders can make it three wins in a row at home.

Last Updated
5 min read
Sounders FC Communication

One of the wildest games in Sounders history has put the spotlight on this weekend’s home match against Chicago. Seattle’s 3-2 comeback victory against FC Dallas last weekend was a roller-coaster of emotion. Just when the Sounders appeared to finish a hectic week on a new high, a display of dissent from Nouhou and Raúl Ruidíaz led coach Brian Schmetzer to give them a mandatory week off. Will the Sounders build off their recent triumph, or is something insidious brewing in the locker room?

The Fire arrive in town occupying their usual spot in the Eastern Conference basement. Still, the absence of Swiss star Xherdan Shaqiri has them playing with extra vivacity. Let’s look at the Sounders’ success against Dallas and how they can continue their renewed home form against the Fire.

Sussing out Seattle

The Sounders came out in control of the match against Dallas, but showed their typical lack of end product. Léo Chú’s limited skillset continues to excite and frustrate. When Chú is running free on the wing, he can beat defenders with speed and put in dangerous crosses:

Chú receives a lovely through pass from Albert Rusnák and whips in a cross.

Whenever the game slows down in front of him, Chú seems to short-circuit:

Chú's shimmies hypnotize Paul Arriola, but to no avail.

Cristian Roldan continues to make the right back spot his own. Rather than taking up attacking positions on the wing like his brother Alex, Cristian was more apt to join the defensive midfield pair in front of Seattle’s back three. In this sequence, Cristian helps the Sounders get extra attacking numbers centrally:

Cristian joins João Paulo in the midfield pair before stepping up to provide an extra option for the central attackers.

Seattle appears to be moving past their early season home struggles where sloppy attacking movements killed their momentum. Albert Rusnák, João Paulo, Jordan Morris, and Obed Vargas are all stepping up their games.

The Sounders win a turnover and earn a shot on target.

As the looming return of Pedro de la Vega threatens us all with a good time, Rusnák’s team-leading assist tally could get a significant boost.

Rusnák shoots into a defender, missing the run of Chú to his left.

If the Sounders’ locker room culture is strong enough to incorporate disappointed veterans playing in reduced roles, the future of Seattle’s offense looks brighter. Ruidíaz was sharp and hungry as a substitute. The team’s ability to sustain possessions in the final third kept Raúl closer to goal and farther from the temptation to end possessions with speculative, long-distance shots.

Paul Rothrock continues to do the dirty work that the offense needs with his consistent attacking runs. On the Sounders’ first goal, recycled possession from a corner kick gave the attack a central overload that Dallas failed to recognize. Even as Raúl’s header flew into the back of the net, Rothrock was johnny-on-the-spot at the back post to tap in any save or deflection:

The Sounders overloaded the middle of the field on their first goal, and Rothrock follows up the play.

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