In recent weeks, Seattle have been pushing the limits of how far a team can travel while still achieving success.
In all, Seattle will have logged more than 9,000 miles in an triangle that started with a bus trip to Vancouver, flights to Texas and then on to Guatemala, a brief stop in Providence, R.I., and finally another cross-country trip to get back home.
To say the travel schedule is demanding would not do it justice. However, head coach Sigi Schmid said his team seems unfazed by the odyssey – a point backed up by the team’s 5-0-1 record in the past six road matches across all competitions.
“The team is feeling fine,” Schmid said simply during a Thursday teleconference. “The team feels good physically and the team feels good emotionally.”
Schmid gave the players Wednesday off from practice, mentioning that some of the team spent some time in the hotel pool as they attempted to recover from Tuesday’s thrilling 2-2 draw against Comunicaciones. It was back on the practice field Thursday, where the team was split into two groups based on playing time in Guatemala.
Ahead of Saturday’s game against New England (7:30 pm ET, watch LIVE online), nearly the entire team headed out to Providence, including Mauro Rosales and former Revs star Pat Noonan. Roger Levesque has also joined the team and might see action this weekend.
“Roger's had a hamstring [injury], but he's been training full out the last few days,” Schmid said. “We didn't play him in Guatemala because we wanted to make sure that he would be ready for this weekend.”
Seattle face a challenging matchup against New England. Historically, the Revolution – and specifically Shalrie Joseph – have had Seattle’s number. In the Sounders’ past two trips to Gillette Stadium, they’ve come out on the losing end of a 2-1 score line (in 2009) and 3-1 (in 2010).
Earlier this season, the Sounders claimed a 3-1 victory over New England in Seattle. This time around, Schmid wants to stem the tide of soft goals that’s crept up recently. Although he likes the way the group is playing as a unit, he felt Seattle conceded a couple soft ones in Guatemala.
“You always like to give up a few less goals,” Schmid said. “I think that's something you're always trying to achieve, especially as you get into the playoffs and the games seem to get a little bit tighter and the players become more attentive to defensive marking and details, and maybe physical play picks up a notch.”
At a distance of 2,476 miles, New England is the farthest MLS destination from Seattle. According to the Sounders PR Department, the team will fly and drive an estimated 50,582 miles during the league season alone.
After the game, Seattle will hop on a plane and fly home to face Chicago in the US Open Cup final on Tuesday, Oct. 4.
Andrew Winner covers the Seattle Sounders for MLSsoccer.com. Follow him on Twitter @AndrewWinnerMLS