Glass half-full: Seattle Sounders take stock, ready to focus on MLS campaign

For the first time in their MLS history, summer will arrive and the Seattle Sounders will only be focused on one competition.

Although no one is pretending that’s how they wanted it, the Sounders were left looking for any positives following their surprising loss to the Tampa Bay Rowdies in the third round of the US Open Cup.

“It will definitely be strange in that regard,” said Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid, who has had to balance three concurrent competitions in each of the past three summers. “For a change, we have no distractions as we move forward. Without those distractions, hopefully it will allow us to focus on MLS and be a little fresher when we go into the playoffs.”

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Seattle have made no secrets about their top priority being winning their first ever MLS Cup. That goal is obviously still well within reach, but the Sounders know they will have to perform much better than they have over the past week.

Making the sting just a little worse from the loss to the Rowdies was the 4-0 loss to the Galaxy a few days earlier. The Sounders had gone into their game against the Galaxy riding a three-game winning streak and unbeaten in six.

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“We have to get back to our roots,” defender Zach Scott said. “What made us successful in our unbeaten streak was always effort, always work rate first and quality came second. You can always match a team’s work rate and effort and the quality of your squad will shine through after that. We have to get back to that first and be a team that works really hard. Good things will happen.”

The Sounders will have a chance to regain that feeling on Saturday against Chivas USA (10:30 pm PT, watch on MLS Live), a team that has gone 0-6-1 in their past seven and just fired their coach on Wednesday.

“That’s the one thing in a game coming quick,” Sounders goalkeeper Marcus Hahnemann said. “When you lose these games and you don’t have a game for a couple weeks, it’s an absolute nightmare. But having a game quickly again — like Saturday, a quick turnaround — is one of those things where you have a good chance to make it right again and get back on the winning run that we were on and playing well. That’s what it’s about.”