Seattle credit "brilliant" management for impressive month
SEATTLE — Posting a 5-0-1 record over six games is no easy feat. To post that record over an 18-day period, across three competitions and in two countries? Well, that’s even better.
That’s precisely what Sigi Schmid’s Sounders team did in August.
General manager Adrian Hanauer lauded Schmid’s roster management as “ridiculously brilliant” after his team posted a 7-0-1 record last month.
Included in that stretch: away wins over FC Dallas and Mexico’s Monterrey, plus another win over FC Dallas in the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup semifinals.
At the beginning of the month, Schmid told his team that depth would be used as the Sounders entered the busiest stretch of the season. It was true: 22 players were used in August. Seldom-used players such as backup goalkeeper Terry Boss and new signing Amadou Sanyang played roles as the Sounders machine showed itself capable of using replaceable parts.
“That’s what I love about Sigi,” Hanauer said. “He’s got a group he believes in, they believe in the system and everybody works together for the common goal."
The Sounders organization employed some logistical creativity during the stretch, flying goalkeeper Kasey Keller and four others home from Dallas to avoid the Monterrey trip. The little bit of rest may have played a role in Seattle’s 6-2 thrashing of Columbus on Aug. 27.
“Great credit to the guys, making some changes and having the confidence in the squad to be able to send five of us home and go down to Monterrey and get an historic win down there,” Keller said. "The team is full of confidence … but right now it’s about keeping this form going into the playoffs."
In all, Seattle outscored their opponents 17-3 during the historic month. They might have run the gamut completely had Álvaro Fernández hit his penalty kick during a 0-0 draw against Chivas USA on Aug. 13.
The stretch keeps Seattle alive in four competitions as the season moves into September. Whether Seattle will win all of those is another story entirely.
“I think it’s still unrealistic [to win four competitions],” Hanauer said in the afterglow of the USOC win, "but we are going to do our best and go down trying."
When asked a similar question, Keller said that by virtue of hosting, his team would probably be considered the favorites to win the US Open Cup. He wouldn’t go so far in the other competitions, mentioning that FC Dallas, the LA Galaxy and even Real Salt Lake could end up with the Supporters' Shield. He also called the MLS Cup Playoffs a “dice throw.”
Andrew Winner covers the Seattle Sounders for MLSsoccer.com.