No team has been better on the road over the past two years than the Seattle Sounders. Since the start of the 2011 season, the men in rave green have gone 11-3-8 away from CenturyLink Field and are currently riding a 10-match road unbeaten streak (7-0-3).
Starting with Saturday’s game against the Montreal Impact (7:30 pm ET; TSN2 in Canada, MLS Live in the US), that record of success will get one of its biggest tests yet, as six of Seattle's next eight will be on the road.
Not that the Sounders are particularly worried.
Montreal set to open Stade Saputo
“To be honest, we play very similar on the road as at home so it’s not that big of a difference,” Sounders defender Zach Scott told MLSsoccer.com. “We know we’re a good road team. It’s more a mentality thing. When we go on the road, we know we’re not going to bunker in, we’re going to attack and we’re going to try to win. We’re not just going out to win one point.”
The six-game slate does present a different kind of challenge, though. First and most obviously, they'll be trying to spoil the debut party for the fully upgraded Stade Saputo.
They'll have come a long way to do so – nearly 2,300 miles. And that's just the start, as the Sounders will also visit the New England Revolution (nearly 2,500 miles) and the New York Red Bulls (about 2,400 miles) in the coming weeks. Once round trips are factored in, Seattle will log about 20,000 miles in the next six weeks, including more than 11,000 before the end of June.
And it’s not just the miles the Sounders will rack up. Over the next month, they’ll play in three time zones and change time zones prior to six of seven matches.
Helping mitigate some of those concerns are the recent performances put in by the Sounders reserves. Among the outstanding players from the Sounders’ recent US Open Cup games were Sammy Ochoa (two goals), Cordell Cato (two assists), Andy Rose (two goals) and Alex Caskey (one goal, two assists).
“Obviously, those players gained confidence with their performances, but the rest of the players also gained confidence in those players based on what they saw,” Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid said. “It’s definitely a more comforting time than what it was maybe the last time, just because you kind of have an idea now of what those guys can do.”
Jeremiah Oshan covers the Seattle Sounders for MLSsoccer.com and SB Nation.