TUKWILA, Wash. – Midseason is apparently too early for the Seattle Sounders to hit the panic button.
Even after nine straight games without a victory, the Sounders weren’t ready to call Saturday’s match against the Colorado Rapids a “must-win” (11 pm ET, NBC Sports Network, LIVE CHAT on MLSsoccer.com).
“At some point in the season, math dictates that games are must-wins,” Sounders general manager Adrian Hanauer said. “We’re not at that point in the season.”
Rather than looking at this one game as important in and of itself, the Sounders are trying to look at it as part of the bigger picture. The goal is to get the season’s momentum swinging back in a positive direction, which will hopefully eliminate the possibility of any “must-win” games.
“The important thing is to end with the most points we can get and try to be in the playoffs,” Sounders midfielder Mauro Rosales said. “We are here trying to build our group, trying to be the better team and to finish in very good form. The important thing is trying to build a strong team.”
Recent results suggest that is happening, even if it’s a bit slower than anyone involved with the Sounders would prefer.
Including their win US Open Cup win over the San Jose Earthquakes, the Sounders have now gone unbeaten in three straight against MLS opponents. They’ve also registered two shutouts in those games, something they hadn’t done against that level of opponent since May 9.
Of course, a win wouldn’t hurt.
“The way the schedule works out this year, with our last set of games being against Western Conference opponents, it’s really within our own hands,” Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid said.
“We always talk about winning the season series with teams. This is our second game with Colorado; we won the first one. If we can get a win here in this one, that means we win the season series. If we can do that with every Western Conference opponent, we’ll be where we want to be at the end of the day.”
Gspurning on the mend
Goalkeeper Michael Gspurning was ruled out from returning this week, but Schmid seemed to indicate that the big Austrian could be back as soon as next Sunday’s game against the New York Red Bulls.
“He’s doing much better,” Schmid said. “I watched him [Thursday] when we came back on our flight and I thought he did a lot of good things. We’ll see where he sits for next week. Obviously tomorrow’s game is not for him, but he’s definitely getting very close.”
Jeremiah Oshan covers the Seattle Sounders for MLSsoccer.com and SB Nation.