TUKWILA, Wash. – There would be something particularly poetic about the Seattle Sounders ending their eight-game winless streak in league play on Wednesday.
It was back on May 12 that the Sounders’ streak started, when they dropped a 1-0 decision at home against Real Salt Lake. Their latest chance to end that streak comes on the road against the same team.
“Sometimes that’s the way streaks go,” said Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid, recalling that his UCLA team once started and ended a 39-game winning streak against Fresno State. “A lot of times, the team it starts with is the team it ends with.”
Despite Rio Tinto Stadium historically being one of the hardest places in MLS for road teams to win, the Sounders seem to be going into Wednesday evening's game (10 pm ET, watch LIVE online) feeling reasonably confident.
Part of the reason is that the Sounders feel they outplayed RSL in their previous meeting, which was decided by a Fabián Espíndola goal.
“It was a hard loss because I thought in that particular game that we were the better team,” Schmid said. “I just watched the game again [Sunday] on the flight back from New England … and you’re looking at that game going, ‘How did we lose that one?’ because we played well. That hurt a little bit.”
That loss starting a bit of a snowball effect, culminating with a particularly frustrating loss against the Portland Timbers.
“Hopefully things are starting to turn in the right direction,” Sounders midfielder Brad Evans said. “It was just a little bit of an attitude adjustment, looking at ourselves and saying those previous couple games weren’t good enough. Effort-wise, it wasn’t there. We thought things were going to come too easy. We kinda got caught in a rut and in this league, it’s a bit of a slippery slope. Teams can kinda bite you. It was a detriment to ourselves.”
Evans said the past week was different and has helped keep attitudes high.
“It was just shoring up a few things,” he said. “This tie this past weekend should have been a win. I thought we played really well. Just stringing six, seven passes together was something we had gotten away from. I think we’re still confident right now, this is a huge game, another one where it’s gotta be a win.”
Weber out 2-4 weeks
The Sounders’ injury woes continued this week when goalkeeper Andrew Weber was forced out of Saturday’s game with a groin injury. On Tuesday, Schmid said a MRI revealed that it was a strain that should keep Weber out anywhere from 10 days to four weeks. That opens the door for Bryan Meredith to return to the starting role and for Josh Ford to make his first appearance on the gameday roster this season.
“It’s a big moment for him right now,” Schmid said about Meredith. “It’s a moment where he had an opportunity to start and he did really well and then maybe the performances weren’t as strong. Now, through an injury, he has another opportunity and it’s a matter of how much did he learn from his first experience and is his attitude going to be, ‘Hey, I’m going to hold onto this thing and I’m not going to let it go again.’”
Jeremiah Oshan covers the Seattle Sounders for MLSsoccer.com and SB Nation.