Seattle flies by 4 games in two week; 2 wins and 2 draws
Seattle Sounders will be looking strong like before after a series of games within two weeks. The results were great, as the team was able to capitalize some of their errors but still showed signs of needing work. There were a lot of positives from these past games that stood out from throughout the roster.
When teams are missing key players in the roster, its the coach's decision to fill in those spots with reliable players they have at their disposal. Seattle Sounders are a very stacked team and its not surprising that this team can make something happen out of nothing. The journey started at Salt Lake City where they played against RSL, where they were defending with what they had in the first half before a weather delay stopped the game before the half. After the weather delay, RSL was able to find the ball in the back in the net after a shot that was parried away from GK Stefan Frei. After half time, RSL took the game by storm and tried to score more only to be denied multiple times. This game definitely showed the weakness of the team for other scouts to see from the stands but the Sounders weren't going to fold up that easily.
It was also the return of former RSL Designated Player Albert Rusnak, where he was booed at whenever he touched the ball, which is something weird but cool to see. His recent starts in games haven't gotten him into scoring goals, but I honestly think its going to take time for him to open up, to start scoring goals but these past games have shown that he has been key to the Sounders attack and he defended well when needed to. The fact that the Sounders were still missing their key players for the beginning of the season and still be able to push out results just tells us how stacked the team is. It would've helped us out if we had them into our roster but the depth showed us that even with two of their DP's still out in injury, they were able to beat last years Campeones Cup winner Leon FC 3-0 after the lost to Real Salt Lake.
The depth of the team is really nuts if you think about it. The Sounders have fielded a lot of young players, from Obed Vargas to players like Jackson Ragen are performing well. It shouldnt be surprising about the youth players coming through the ranks of the first team. Sounders General Manager Garth Lagerwey said the Sounders werent going to spend like they did before, adding that the fans should trust more in the youth pipeline. His project has been paying off with promising results. The kids have been heavily relied upon these past games, filling up slots where normally a starter type player would play.
The Sounders stayed home to play against LA Galaxy with both teams putting in great goals. Fredy Montero, who scored two goals against Leon FC, had a great game as well. The Colombian forward has filled in the role up top perfectly, all while breaking the Sounders goal scoring record. At one point there was a little confusion between Montero and Rusnak to take the penalty, but they came to their peace and Montero was the one who was able to put it in the back of the net. LA Galaxy had many chances to increase the score, only to be denied a point from a headed goal from Xavier Arreaga.
Seattle then went on to Guanajuato, Leon to face off against Leon FC for their second leg of the tournament. A game that was hard fought by the opposing team was nearly scoreless throughout the game until Cristian Roldan was able to receive a foul inside the 18. It was then that only Fredy Montero was able to put the ball in the back of the net to make it 1-0. The game was set to be done, all until in extra time where Fidel Ambriz also scored right on stoppage time to make it 1-1. It was still enough for the visitors to be able to go through the CONCACAF Champions League Semi-Final. The Sounders will face NYCFC at home while Cruz Azul will be playing against Pumas.
Next game was headed up north to Austin, TX where they played (lets all be honest here) their secondary team against a team that played most of their starters. Will Bruin was able to get a goal for his first time this season, Stefan Cleveland was great in goal as well and the team was able to hold off until again in the last portion of the game where Diego Fagundez was able to score. There wasn't a lot that the Sounders could've done since they were fiercely under pressure from the attacking front of Austin. Stefan Cleveland had his shot-stopping gloves on where he made some incredible saves that should've ended in a different score sheet. The game really showed how well the depth of the team really is and if we can fix some mistakes that we are still having then I am sure this team can make it even farther down the stretch of the season.
The Sounders were able to stroll by these 4 games, with some bumps and scratches here and there, but they are still a team to watch for. It'll be great for the team to able to re-up the team's health as well as capitalizing their mistakes from these past games. Stefan Frei, Nicolas Lodeiro and Raul Ruidiaz (I know theres more players who are injured, just seem to be that these players are actually important) will be out but I'm sure we will be able to see them coming back soon either against Minnesota United FC or the game against NYCFC. Until then make sure to give us a follow on twitter @MLSNowPodcast on twitter for more great stuff on our league!