Seattle Sounders have lost three of their last four games, and Brian Schmetzer knows his team have to hit the reset button, starting with Wednesday’s encounter against FC Dallas.
The Sounders started the season with a 13-match unbeaten run, but their poor streak has let Sporting Kansas City move to within two points in the Western Conference.
Schmetzer is under no illusions as to what Seattle need to do to turn things around, though.
“I hate giving away goals,” said Schmetzer.
“This league is so hard, so you can’t just hand your opponent a goal. In the last two games, we have been uncharacteristically giving away what I feel are soft goals.
“It’s going back to the basics, it’s being a team that’s hard to beat. We’ve struggled with that the last two games. We will come back, we will try and get a result against Dallas and get back on a winning streak.”
The Sounders would have been second in the West if not for Dallas, who beat Kansas City 2-1 last time out.
It was just a fourth win of the season for Dallas, whose coach Luchi Gonzales had been facing some criticism.
However, the result justifies the words of United States coach Gregg Berhalter, who last week said: “Luchi, I have a ton of respect for what he’s doing. I love what FC Dallas is doing in general, producing player after player, both for the national team and for MLS, and then to move on to Europe.”
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Seattle Sounders – Raul Ruidiaz
Raul Ruidiaz is MLS’ leading scorer with 11 goals, and the Peruvian is likely to be crucial as Seattle look to get back to winning ways.
FC Dallas - Ricardo Pepi
Teenager Ricardo Pepi has netted eight times this season, last scoring on July 25, when he helped himself to a hat-trick in Dallas’ 4-0 thrashing of LA Galaxy. The 18-year-old has just signed a new deal, but is sure to be attracting interest from elsewhere.
KEY OPTA FACTS
– The Sounders eliminated Dallas from each of the last two postseasons with one-goal home wins. Dallas has just one win in 17 all-time visits to Seattle (D3 L13, including playoffs), a 1-0 victory in May 2011. Seattle is unbeaten in the 14 meetings since.
– Seattle has lost back-to-back home matches after losing one of its previous 29 at Lumen Field (W21 D7, including playoffs). Seattle’s only three-match home losing streak in MLS came in May-July 2016, just weeks before the only coaching change in club history which saw Brian Schmetzer replace Sigi Schmid.
– After losing its first seven away matches of the season, Dallas beat Kansas City, 2-1, in Kansas City on Saturday. Dallas hasn’t won consecutive away matches since beating Toronto and the Galaxy away in May 2018.
– Seattle has conceded an MLS-high four penalties this season, allowing three goals, tied for most in MLS with CF Montreal. There have been seven penalties awarded in Sounders matches (3 for, 4 against), more than any other team in the league this season.
– Both Paxton Pomykal and Jesus Ferreira’s goals against Kansas City on Saturday came from outside the box, Dallas’s first goals from outside the area this season. The last time Dallas scored twice from outside the box was also against Sporting, in October 2019 with Ferreira scoring one of those also.