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Massive three-game home stand starts now

Pedro de la Vega continues to make progress but likely still at least a week away from return.

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2 min read

RENTON — Of the Seattle Sounders’ first 19 matches this season, 11 have been on the road. While their play at Lumen Field hasn’t been exactly stellar — they’re just 2-1-5 — they are well aware that this upcoming three-game home stand is a big opportunity to get their season headed back in the right direction.

“We have to win all three games,” Sounders midfielder Albert Rusnák said in his typically blunt fashion. “This is a perfect stretch for us to move up the table. I think we can win all three and can move us up. Everyone will be a bit more happy, a bit more positive.”

Underscoring the importance of these games is that all three are against teams currently outside of playoff positions.

First up is FC Dallas, currently two points behind the Sounders in the Western Conference standings. Dallas recently fired head coach Nico Estévez and are 2-0-0 under interim coach Peter Luccin, including a 5-3 win over Minnesota United. But both of those wins were at home, and Dallas is the only team in MLS without a road win so far this year (0-6-3).

After Dallas, the Sounders host the Chicago Fire on June 29 and the New England Revolution on July 6. The Fire are 4-8-6 with just one road win, while the Revolution are 5-10-1 and sitting last in the Eastern Conference.

Pedro de la Vega making progress

Pedro de la Vega made it through what could charitably be called a full week of training — due to the midweek game there weren’t any full-speed sessions — but is probably at least another week away from being in serious consideration for minutes.

“Next week will be the real test,” Sounders head coach Brian Schmetzer said. “I’ll give you further updates toward the end of next week.”

The Young Designated Player has logged just 103 minutes spread out over three appearances while dealing with a spate of hamstring injuries. The Sounders have been focused on building his fitness ever since he got here and he does look visibly stronger.

Taking ownership

The Sounders rolled out a 3-4-3 formation in the first half against the Houston Dynamo and went into halftime trailing 2-0. Although the formation wasn’t that much of a departure from the Sounders’ normal setup, Schmetzer took responsibility for not having his players better prepared.

“I’ll take it,” he said. “It’s my fault. I’ll accept responsibility for it. I thought the tactics were good, but it didn’t work.”

Schmetzer also noted that he’s not quite ready to give up on that formation and said there’s a decent chance it will be used again later in the season.