Red-hot Sounders express mixed feelings on international break

SEATTLE – The Seattle Sounders couldn’t be much hotter going in their upcoming bye week.

Seattle will head into its upcoming week off for the FIFA international break riding an MLS-record eight-game winning streak following their latest victory – a 3-1 triumph over Sporting Kansas City at CenturyLink Field on Saturday.

Bye weeks can be crucial during the long and grueling marathon that makes up an MLS season, but considering that the Sounders are historically hot at the moment, would Seattle rather get back on the field right away at the risk of sacrificing some of that momentum? After Saturday’s match, Sounders head coach Brian Schmetzer said that issue is “kind of a mixed bag.”

“In years past, we’ve used these international breaks – September-October – to reset for the playoffs, so I don’t know,” Schmetzer said. “I think it’s good that some guys get a rest, because guys have been putting it in. So, there is that break where you get to recharge mentally and physically. We have five guys [on international duty], so that doesn’t work for them but [it should] for the rest of the group.”

Sounders goalkeeper Stefan Frei also opined on the topic, saying that going into the break with another win and keeping the win streak going should make more a positive mindset for the team during the time off.

A loss on Saturday, Frei said, would have soured the mood and probably have made the players more inclined to want to get back on the field sooner.

“I think we’ll recharge,” he said. “We’re happy with where we are now, we’re happy to go into this break with another win and streak intact. That was a difficult game today. They’re a good side. So, it could have been disappointing to lose today and end the streak. But it’s almost like we’ve earned a little bit of a break now.”

Keeping the momentum going after not playing for two weeks going won’t be easy, but with how the Sounders are currently cruising, Frei said he expects the team to be up to the task. After a few days to recalibrate, it’s back to the training ground with the eye toward staying sharp before the team returns to MLS play against the Vancouver Whitecaps on Sept. 15 (10 pm ET | TSN — Full TV & streaming info).

“You’ve got to take advantage of what you’re given,” Frei said. “If that means you get an early game right away, go ahead and use that, but if you get a break you have to take advantage of the break – get away from the game mentally and make sure we can get ready for the last push before the playoffs.”