TUKWILA, Wash. – How far can the Seattle Sounders push this?
It’s a question they say they’re trying not to think about, but it’s also become the top storyline surrounding the team ahead of Seattle’s matchup against the Philadelphia Union on Wednesday (11 pm ET | TV & Streaming info) at CenturyLink Field.
Going into the midweek fixture, the Sounders have won nine straight — already an MLS record for a single season in the post-shootout era. Each win they can put on top of that would further solidify their place in the MLS history books and stake a more convincing claim for the top spot in terms of the hottest runs of form the league has ever seen.
“This is the biggest streak I’ve been a part of,” Sounders defender Brad Smith said on Tuesday. “It’s amazing to say you’ve won nine in a row. [Teams] don’t go undefeated in that timeframe, so to get nine wins is unheard of. It’s amazing. I hope we can keep it going and keep [extending] the record.”
Should the Sounders indeed push the streak into double digits, the talk about the historical significance and cross-sport comparisons only figure to gain more steam.
All of that will surely make for some interesting fan discussions, but the Sounders themselves insist their focus is simply on figuring out how to get past the Union, who have a cross-country road trip to contend with and are coming off a 4-1 home loss to the Montreal Impact Saturday night.
“We haven’t looked at it from a historical perspective yet,” Schmetzer said. “I think it always takes time to reflect. At the end of the year or maybe after the first draw or first loss, maybe we’ll reflect back on it. Right now, the focal point for the coaching staff is how do we get better?”
“We had another argument this morning about how do we get the team to play better,” he added. "Could we have played better against Vancouver [last game]? The answer to that is yes. I mean, Vancouver put us under pressure, let’s be honest here. And some of that you have to credit Vancouver, but the flip side of that is you have to look at the tape and say, ‘We need to work here and let’s clean this up and make sure we’re attacking in the right ways that we want.’ A lot of it [at training] was just that drive to be better.”
If the Sounders do beat Philadelphia, their upcoming schedule certainly seems to lend itself well to keeping the streak going. Seattle follow with a weekend road trip to take on the LA Galaxy, who have one of the league’s leakiest defenses and got trounced by the Sounders, 5-0, at CenturyLink on August 18.
After that, the Sounders don’t play a team currently above the playoff line in any of their final five matches to close out the season.
“Let’s make it 10, let’s make it 11,” forward Will Bruin said. “Then, when we jump up in the rankings, we can talk about [history] more.”