TUKWILA, Wash. — If Seattle’s most recent road swing did anything for the club, it reinforced the team’s belief in itself to persevere through adversity.
In both matches over the past week — at FC Dallas in league play last weekend and at Monterrey in the CONCACAF Champions League on Tuesday — the Sounders battled strong opposition in sweltering conditions before finding themselves on the happy end of identical 1-0 score lines.
For head coach Sigi Schmid, he was pleased that his team was able to triumph despite difficult circumstances.
“For our team to be able to play in a little bit of a different style and still come out on top is the important thing,” Schmid said after Thursday’s training session. “It shows that we have grown over the years of being able to find ways to win games. We found a way to win in Dallas and we found a way win a game in Monterrey.”
Seattle will hope that winning mentality carries through to Saturday’s matchup against the Eastern Conference-leading Columbus Crew (4 pm ET, watch LIVE online). Schmid’s former team has always challenged the Sounders, but Seattle hold a 2-0-3 all-time record against his former top assistant, Robert Warzycha.
The Sounders hope they can keep the unbeaten streak against the Crew intact. The visitors come in as one of the league’s hottest teams, having claimed an impressive 25 points from the past 13 matches. Over the course of the season, that pace would net most teams a Supporters’ Shield. For the Crew, it has them four points clear of resurgent Sporting Kansas City in the East.
Seattle must get a result against the Crew to continue chasing the LA Galaxy atop the Western Conference. After Thursday’s training session, Schmid indicated that holding off FC Dallas and making up ground against LA are the team’s top priorities.
“We want to stay where we’re at,” Schmid said. “We are at home so this is a week maybe for us to extend some distance between us and Dallas but, more importantly, maybe make up some ground to LA.”
Zakuani, Ianni injury updates
Steve Zakuani, who suffered a broken leg in April, will likely not play again this season, Schmid told the Seattle Times. The midfielder started jogging in early July but it doesn’t appear his recovery will have him back to reinforce a potential playoff run.
Patrick Ianni’s hamstring injury, suffered on Aug. 16 against CSD Comunicaciones, will likely keep him sidelined for this weekend’s contest.
Andrew Winner covers the Seattle Sounders for MLSsoccer.com. Follow him on Twitter @AndrewWinnerMLS