Seattle Sounders boss Brian Schmetzer admits it will take time to process his side’s Champions League triumph as they dive straight back into MLS action once more with a road trip to FC Dallas.
The Washington outfit sealed a 3-0 win over Liga MX outfit Pumas UNAM to become the first American outfit to win the trophy in its revamped format on Wednesday.
But the Sounders have little time to relish their historic achievement, with a scheduled visit to Texas hurtling towards them over the immediate horizon.
Schmetzer acknowledged as much after his side’s victory, highlighting that it will take time for him to appreciate the magnitude truly amid a hectic fixture list.
“Please give me six months,” he said. “Let me play Dallas. [But] let me skip some of those games so I can reflect a little more.”
Opposite number Nico Estevez meanwhile could include Thomas Roberts among his selection, following the homegrown player’s early return from a spell on loan in Europe.
The 20-year-old has spent close to 10 months in Austria with SK Austria Klagenfurt, with nearly a dozen appearances under his belt, and his boss has been happy to sing his praises.
“Thomas is a great player in between lines,” he added. “He plays as an attacking mid and understands space really well. He has great feet and has a very good last pass. He needs to keep growing on the defensive side and keep improving his positioning.
“It’ll take a little bit but he has the right profile and mentality. Now, we have a stretch with lots of games and he’ll be ready when we need him.”
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Dallas – Jose Martinez
The defender has been a bright spark for the Texan team so far this term, with a particularly shrewd passing game to boot. He’s notched 357 accurate back zone passes – a number beaten only by three other MLS players this term.
Seattle – Xavier Arreaga
The Ecuadorian is something of an unsung hero among the Sounders roster, but he’s been one of their most consistent performers when it comes to picking out team-mates. A 88.5 per cent success rate is better than any other player at the club to have started seven games this term.
KEY OPTA FACTS
Seattle is unbeaten in five straight MLS matches against Dallas (W3 D2), including playoff wins in 2019 and 2020. The Sounders’ 1-0 away win last August, however, ended a 10-match winless run for the Sounders in Dallas (D3 L7, incl. playoffs) that dated back to September 2014.
FC Dallas’ unbeaten run extended to seven matches (W4 D3) with a 2-2 draw at Sporting Kansas City on Saturday. Dallas hasn’t had a longer unbeaten run since going 10 in a row without defeat from November 2016 to May 2017.
The Sounders lost their last MLS match, 4-3, against San Jose after leading 3-1. It was the first time Seattle lost a match in which it led by two goals in the club’s MLS history (W128 D1 L1) and ended a 123-match winning streak when leading by multiple goals (incl. playoffs).
Alan Velasco scored the opening goal for FC Dallas against Kansas City on Saturday from a direct free kick. It was the first direct free-kick goal for Dallas in over three years, since Reto Ziegler scored against the Union in April 2019.
Nicolás Lodeiro had a goal and two assists in Seattle’s loss to the Earthquakes on April 23, taking his total to 96 goal contributions of the Sounders in MLS (34 goals, 62 assists). In doing so, Lodeiro surpassed Fredy Montero (94) for most regular season goal contributions in Sounders history.