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Will fatigue overtake Sounders in crucial stretch?

 Fredy Montero (

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Seven MLS games remain on the Seattle Sounders' schedule, three at home and four on the road. Seven games to earn 13 more points, at least, and get to coach Sigi Schmid's magic number of points, 45, that he believes will get the club into the postseason. 

Magic number? Six Western Conference teams currently holding down playoff spots with only two in the East? Seems more like the NBA (where West teams win more in the regular season than those in the East) or major-league baseball playoff race than soccer. 

Gone is the Sounders' seven-match unbeaten streak after their loss at New England last Saturday, an historic run for the young franchise but one that was bound to end sooner than later. The Revs are no powerhouse; nevertheless they scored three unanswered goals for a convincing come-from-behind win over Seattle.

It stands to reason that perhaps fatigue from a more trying schedule than last season finally set in on the players in Foxborough. Seattle had a U.S. Open Cup match last week and has had a mid-week match to play every week since July 25. The Sounders have given up goals in bunches before for one reason or another, but it seems like so many games — Open Cup, CONCACAF Champions League and MLS — finally caught up to them.

Right about now, the Sounders could use a pick-me-up from Blaise N'kufo, who is practicing this week but has been hampered by a deep knee bruise. Seattle has a big Thursday game against Real Salt Lake on ESPN2. Three points aren't a must against the defending MLS Cup winners, but with a schedule that includes flights to Costa Rica, Columbus, Mexico and Chicago over the next 18 days, it would really make a difference.

Fatigue, jetlag, tired legs, injuries – the excuses are there and have been for most of the season. By the end of the regular season, no other MLS club will have played more games than Seattle, 42, not including international friendlies. Next season could be the same if the Sounders win the U.S. Open Cup next month.

The Sounders should learn from the experience of playing so often and get accustomed to it, as more seasoned MLS teams like the Crew and Houston Dynamo and L.A. Galaxy had to. Success equals more games to play.

After Thursday night, the Sounders won't return to Qwest Field for a game until Sept. 29, when they host CD Marathon in a CCL group match.

By that time, CCL play might be just a required game on the schedule that the Sounders have to play and get through, as Seattle might be well out of contention for advancement from their group.


  1. I mean, I don’t think Jose is trying to make excuses here. The fact is, that is a lot of games for an MLS team. You can read into it what you want, but it does have an effect on a team at some point.

  2. Excuses for what? Your post doesn’t even make sense. Nobody on the Sounders has made any excuses. They are going out there trying to win every game they play. Get over yourself.

  3. “By the end of the regular season, no other MLS club will have played more games than Seattle, 42, not including international friendlies.”

    There is at least one other team with the same number of games. Sounds like a bunch of excuses.

  4. Yeah, take it easy, dude. Jose is only doing his job. The Sounders did look terrible in that last game against the Revs … almost completely undoing everything they achieved during their great recent run in only 10 minutes of miserable soccer.

    They still have a few things to prove to this fan. Namely, is anyone not named Montero or Zakuani going to score a goal for us this season? When will Sigi realize that Ianni and Sturgis are not the answer at either of their positions, and as long as they continue to play, the Sounders will always have a weak spot?

    Seriously, my Seattle Sounders FC are a good side, but they’re far from the best in the league at this point. All that said, I’ll be at Qwest Thursday night screaming like a madman hoping they get a win against RSL.

  5. Harsh indeed. Maybe your Seattle fandom has you a bit defensive, because when I read Jose’s post I took it as merely a statement that Seattle has a tough road ahead and will need to rely on their depth — basically exactly what you wrote after blasting Jose.

  6. I was under the impression that Real won the MLS Cup last year, not the Supporters Shield. Nice to see that Seattle’s former beat writer is the first to throw dirt on the team after every loss. I for one believe that the loss is going to keep the Sounders sharp down the stretch. N’kufo and Fernandez are going to go on a tear at some point and Zakuani is healthy again- so there’s no need to panic. Sigi says all the time that they’d rather be playing games than practicing, and while all those minutes take their toll, at this point the experienced gain has been more of a benefit than a hindrance. This game was a wake up call to the Sounders that making it to the post-season isn’t going to be a cakewalk, nothing more.

  7. No bib, I think I’m just finally figuring out how to properly format stories for this site, LOL! All credit to Ives for being teaching me to get it right. But hopefully the material is a good read as well.

  8. This is a question of depth. If the Sounders are going to pull through, it’ll be thanks to Levesque, Nyassi and Tyson Wahl.

    I think the guys can do it, but it’s going to take some of the players who have been playing limited minutes to do so.


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