Sounders goalkeeper Stefan Frei made five saves during a 5-0 victory over the L.A. Galaxy on Aug. 18. Photo by Lindsey Wasson/Sounders FC Communications

Sounders goalkeeper Stefan Frei made five saves during a 5-0 victory over the L.A. Galaxy on Aug. 18. Photo by Lindsey Wasson/Sounders FC Communications

Sounders’ Season Rises From the Ashes

Seattle will ride a hot streak into a huge match with Portland.

In life, only three things are certain: death, taxes, and the Seattle Sounders finding their form in mid-July.

Like a clockwork phoenix, the Sounders overcame a woeful first half of the season and are currently on a nine-game unbeaten streak including a club-record six wins in a row. After being stapled to the bottom of the table, the Sounders currently sit seventh (of 12 teams) in the Western Conference—only two points out of a playoff spot with two games in hand on teams above them. They will be riding that hot streak into a huge match with the Portland Timbers, who, in contrast, are on a three-game losing streak. How did the Sounders get here? Well, let’s take a look.

New Kid on the Ball

The Sounders have needed a striker since Jordan Morris tore his ACL in the first game of the season, but Raúl Ruidíaz’s impact on the team since his June 29 signing cannot be overstated. In six games, he has two goals and an assist, but beyond that his movement has opened space for everyone to operate. The defense can finally breathe because they’re not defending for 90 minutes. Counter-attacks are more dangerous. Like a very nice rug, Ruidíaz doesn’t decorate a room all by himself, but certainly he ties it all together. He even got his own mural up on Capitol Hill. Not to mention the Sounders have won every game he’s played in since his July 21 debut. The scary thing for MLS is that for Ruidíaz, the best is yet to come.

Return From the Infirmary

At the beginning of this year, the injury bug was rampant. Victor Rodriguez, Clint Dempsey, Nicolás Lodeiro, Román Torres, Kelvin Leerdam, Osvaldo Alonso, and Jordan Morris were all on the injury list. The Sounders were an injury away from needing coach Brian Schmetzer to lace up the boots. Some of that may have had to do with carrying so many players over 30 on the roster (although Chad Marshall might be ageless; somebody check his house to see if he has an aging portrait hanging there). In MLS, anytime that much of your salary cap is on the injury list, it’s going to be a struggle. Fans can certainly fault the club for holding onto Dempsey and Alonso for what may be a year too long. But hindsight is 20/20 (both in Beanie Babies and in Pokémon cards). If the Sounders’ aging veterans can pour it on as they head into the playoffs, it will all be worth it.

Scoring Goals, Duh

Goals are the reason every soccer fan comes out to watch games. Even after this past weekend’s lopsided 5-0 win over the L.A. Galaxy, the Sounders have scored only 31 goals through 24 games—barely one a game (never mind that early games this season felt like a 90-minute forced march). However, through this unbeaten streak the Sounders have scored two goals a game. Saying that scoring is integral to the Sounders winning is not groundbreaking analysis, but sometimes it really is that simple. Bringing in a goal scorer like Ruidíaz certainly helps. Lodeiro, Cristian Roldan, and Will Bruin have all pitched in toward the goal total, which also speaks to the strength of this team (they can share!).

That for the third season running the Sounders have dug their own grave only to break open the casket and rise from the dead is certainly a worrisome trend. Half a season of good soccer isn’t a great way to get new fans. Yet the Sounders manage to pull off this trick every year. This offseason, playoffs or not, they need to work on getting younger and shedding some salary. Otherwise Sounders’ fans may begin to wonder if they are stuck in a time loop.

More in News & Comment

Upon further review, EPA wants to redo water quality rules

Feds say they’ll use what the state submitted in 2016 even though they’re no longer the state’s faves.

King County Councilman Reagan Dunn sent a letter to the FBI asking for them to help investigate Allan Thomas (pictured), who is under investigation for stealing more than $400,000 of public funds and skirting election laws in an Enumclaw drainage district. Screenshot from King 5 report
King County Council requests report on special districts in wake of fraud allegations

Small, local special districts will face more scrutiny following Enumclaw drainage district case.

The Marquee on Meeker Apartments, 2030 W. Meeker St. in Kent, will feature 492 apartments and 12,000 square feet of retail. The first phase of 288 apartments is expected to be completed in early 2020. Developers are targeting people in their 20s and 30s to rent their high-end, urban-style apartments. Steve Hunter/staff photo
Housing study pokes holes in conventional wisdom

High construction and land costs will incentivize developers to build luxury units.

File photo
Eviction reform passed by state Legislature

Tenant protections included longer notices and more judicial discretion.

Oh, crab! There’s something fishy about this place

That mysterious eyesore by the sea will be replaced by a new research center. “It’s all going to go.”

With ‘Game of Thrones’ ending, it’s time for a proper feast

How to make a meal inspired by the Lannisters’ and Starks’ world, fit for the King in the North.

Edmonds looks to transform a prime piece of waterfront

After the Senior Center breaks ground on a new building, the city could complete a beach walkway.

A Metro bus coming out of the Bellevue Transit Center. File photo
I-90 bus routes could be eliminated in 2023

King County Metro and Sound Transit are considering service changes with the arrival of light rail.

In state House, one historic era ends and another begins

Chopp is out as speaker. Lovick is in, and already dealing with next steps in two investigations.

Most Read