Skip to content

MLS Playoff Focus: Notes on Seattle ahead of Wednesday’s meeting with Colorado

Oct 29, 2013, 7:45 PM EDT

Colorado Rapids v Seattle Sounders Getty Images

Ahead of Wednesday’s first round playoff between Seattle and Colorado, here are the most knows about the Sounders ahead of the 10:30 p.m. ET kickoff (NBCSN):

  • This is not your normal Sigi defense

Seattle’s used to having one of the best defenses in the league, a combination of Sigi Schmid’s approach, Osvaldo Alonso’s ball-winning, and Michael Gspurning’s quality in goal. But Gspurning has struggled, the team’s shakeup (Dempsey, Moffat additions) has left questions through the middle, and Schmid’s failed to find answers. As a result, a solid-if-beatable core of defenders has been left exposed.

While the team’s moved on from performances that conceded nine goals over two games (Oct. 5, 9), fans have only seen stopgaps, not solutions. Seattle’s 42 regular season goals allowed is second-worst amongst teams that qualified for the playoffs, leaving questions as to how they’ll handle Deshorn Brown, Gaby Torres, and Vicente Sanchez.

  • Obafemi Martins is probably out

Dempsey continues to be the focus, but Obafemi Martins was the Sounders’ original statement of intent, albeit one that’s limited to 17 starts. Word out Seattle this morning leaves Martins unlikely to play on Wednesday, the Nigerian international skipping Tuesday’s training with a groin injury that’s cost him four of the Sounders’ last five games.

With Sigi Schmid switching to a diamond midfield (deploying Dempsey at its tip), Martins’ fitness seems to absolve Seattle of a tough decision, though it’s looking less-and-less likely a choice between Martins and Lamar Neagle will have to be made. This late in the season, you wonder a healthy Martins may be relegated to a super-sub’s role, Seattle needing to find a winning formula before the big-ticket acquisition can have an impact on this postseason.

  • Confidence has got to be an issue

Seattle played well in Sunday’s first half against Los Angeles but came out of intermission with a different mindset, eventually regressing into a defensive posture that saw them holding on for dear life far too early in the match. Robbie Keane’s 78th winner would cost them full points, relegating them to Wednesday’s playoff.

Those aren’t the actions of a confident side, a mentality that shouldn’t be surprising given the team’s October swoon. But with a squad full of veteran, accomplished players, Schmid should be able to convince his team they can do better. It’s not as if his crew have no history of success to draw on.

If the Sounders pull ahead of the Rapids, they need to kill off the match, not sit back and pray Colorado won’t find a goal. That mentality cost them on Sunday. On Wednesday, they have no room for error.

  • In Eddie, they may have to trust

Eddie Johnson provides a great Get Out of Jail Free card. When all else fails — when tactics or the confidence of a broken team can’t be turned around — Seattle can always play it to Johnson. They can win corner kicks, try to earn fouls, and hope the U.S. international can get the best of Drew Moor or Shane O’Neill.

It’s not the most complicated plan, but it’s one even a struggling team can execute. If all else continues to fall, Seattle may have to rely on the matchup they can win: EJ against that Rapids central defense.

  • The obvious: This game is very important to Siegfried Schmid

Speculating about a coach’s job is always precarious, more so when you’re talking about a unique situation like Seattle’s. After joining the Sounders at the dawn of their MLS adventure, the 60-year-old became the face of the franchise. He’s become much more than a coach.

But there’s no appetite for failure right now. If Seattle bows out in the first round, it will be hard to justify keeping him on. Joe Roth has made the financial commitment, and Adrian Hanauer expected this team to compete for titles (even before acquiring Dempsey and Martins).

If they come up five games short, Schmid may be gone, opening up the most attractive coaching job in Major League Soccer.

Latest Posts
  1. VIDEO: Breaking down the done deals and transfer gossip in PST Extra

    Jul 1, 2015, 8:30 AM EDT

    PST Extra - July 1

    Joe Prince-Wright dissects the big deals of the summer so far and takes a look at the latest transfer gossip doing the rounds.

  2. Liverpool complete $20 million signing of Nathaniel Clyne from Southampton

    Jul 1, 2015, 7:10 AM EDT

    Clyne Getty Images

    England international right back Clyne has signed a long-term deal at Anfield.

  3. Amid all the noise, United States coach Jill Ellis got the tactics right on Tuesday

    Jul 1, 2015, 12:12 AM EDT

    150630 Ellis Getty Images

    Jill Ellis takes a lot of criticism, but she got it right again on Tuesday, moves that got the U.S. into the World Cup final.

  4. Dos Santos rumors show us what the “core player” can mean to growing MLS

    Jun 30, 2015, 11:50 PM EDT

    Felipe Baloy, Giovani Dos Santos AP

    It’ll be an interesting story to follow as it unfolds across American soccer’s top flight.

  5. Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup roundup: Union, Orlando, Chicago move on as Charlotte bounced

    Jun 30, 2015, 11:20 PM EDT

    Orlando City's Kaka moves the ball against the Columbus Crew at the Orlando Citrus Bowl on Saturday, June 30, 2015, in Orlando, Fla. City won, 2-0, in the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open Cup. (Stephen M. Dowell/Orlando Sentinel/TNS via Getty Images) Getty Images

    For 32 glorious minutes, we thought there was a good chance we’d see a third-tier side in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup’s quarterfinals.

  6. Three things learned: United States advances over Germany in epic Women’s World Cup semifinal

    Jun 30, 2015, 10:47 PM EDT

    USA v Germany: Semi-Final - FIFA Women's World Cup 2015 Getty Images

    The United States played its best soccer in two years with a victory over Germany in an epic win over Germany.

  7. Did Landon Donovan throw shade at Jurgen Klinsmann with celebratory USWNT Tweet?

    Jun 30, 2015, 10:03 PM EDT

    during the FIFA Women's World Cup 2015 Semi Final match between USA and Germany at Olympic Stadium on June 30, 2015 in Montreal, Canada. Getty Images

    Either Landon Donovan is emotionally removed from last summer’s World Cup roster omission drama, or the USMNT legend just passive-aggressively lashed out at former coach Jurgen Klinsmann.

  8. Argentina 6-1 Paraguay: La Albiceleste thump Los Guaraníes to set up blockbuster final vs Chile

    Jun 30, 2015, 9:38 PM EDT

    Argentina's defender Marcos Rojo (2-L) celebrates with teammates after scoring against Paraguay during their Copa America semifinal football match in Concepcion, Chile on June 30, 2015.    AFP PHOTO / NELSON ALMEIDA        (Photo credit should read NELSON ALMEIDA/AFP/Getty Images) Getty Images

    There will be a blockbuster final to the Copa America, as Argentina thumped Paraguay to cruise to the final.

  9. With the World Cup on the line, the USWNT gave us a vintage performance to savor

    Jun 30, 2015, 9:21 PM EDT

    USA's midfielder Carli Lloyd (R) fights for the ball with Germany's defender Saskia Bartusiak during their 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup semifinal match at Olympic Stadium in Montreal on June 30, 2015.    AFP PHOTO/NICHOLAS KAMM        (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images) Getty Images

    With one brilliant 90-minute performance, the United States reasserted itself as the best team in the world.

  10. United States defeats Germany, advances to Women’s World Cup final

    Jun 30, 2015, 9:00 PM EDT

    lloydscores Getty Images

    The U.S. is headed to the final for the fourth time in seven tournaments.

  11. Gervinho’s requests for helicopter, private beach end transfer interest of UAE club

    Jun 30, 2015, 7:04 PM EDT

    gervinho AP

    The Ivorian international, 28, appeared set for a 4-year deal worth about $14.5 million.

  12. FOLLOW LIVE: Copa America — Argentina and Paraguay battle for title date with Chile

    Jun 30, 2015, 6:41 PM EDT

    Argentina v Bosnia-Herzegovina: Group F - 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Getty Images

    There hasn’t been a single clean sheet kept in a match-up of these two teams since 2010. Should be a fun one.

  13. WATCH LIVE: The USWNT takes on Germany in the Women’s World Cup semifinals (Lineups, Live Stream)

    Jun 30, 2015, 6:12 PM EDT

    aaaalloyd Getty Images

    Lauren Holiday and Megan Rapinoe return from their yellow card suspensions to play starting roles in Tuesday’s Women’s World Cup semifinal.

  14. Reports: Galaxy on verge of landing El Tri star Dos Santos as “core player”

    Jun 30, 2015, 5:51 PM EDT

    VILLARREAL, SPAIN - DECEMBER 21:  Giovani Dos Santos of Villarreal in action during the La Liga match between Villarreal CF and Deportivo de La Coruna at El Madrigal on December 21, 2014 in Villarreal, Spain.  (Photo by Manuel Queimadelos Alonso/Getty Images) Getty Images

    There’s haves, have nots and have a lots, and the Los Angeles Galaxy are in the final category.

  15. Knee injury forces Brad Davis out of Gold Cup; USMNT set to add Greg Garza

    Jun 30, 2015, 4:45 PM EDT

    HOUSTON, TX - MARCH 28:  Brad Davis #11 of the Houston Dynamo sits on the pitch during their game against the Colorado Rapids at BBVA Compass Stadium on March 28, 2015 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images) Getty Images

    A long-standing right bone bruise will keep the Houston Dynamo midfielder out of the upcoming Gold Cup.

  16. Report: Sepp Blatter will not attend Women’s World Cup final

    Jun 30, 2015, 4:04 PM EDT

    FIFA president Sepp Blatter gestures as he speaks during  a press conference on May 30, 2015 in Zurich after being re-elected during the FIFA Congress. Blatter said he was "shocked" at the way the US judiciary has targeted football's world body and slammed what he called a "hate" campaign by Europe's football leaders.  AFP PHOTO / FABRICE COFFRINI        (Photo credit should read FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images) Getty Images

    An incredibly-confident man who branded himself the “Godfather of women’s football” certainly won’t relish sitting this one out.

  17. WATCH LIVE: Quarterfinal spots up for grabs in US Open Cup fifth round

    Jun 30, 2015, 3:45 PM EDT

    US Open Cup trophy Getty Images

    How to stay in touch with all the Open Cup action in Tuesday’s four games.

  18. Nigel Pearson fired as manager by Leicester City

    Jun 30, 2015, 3:11 PM EDT

    Nigel Pearson, Leicester City FC Nigel Pearson, Leicester City FC

    Foxes decide to fire Pearson despite the greatest of “great escapes” during the 2014-15 season.

  19. Top goalkeepers Hope Solo, Nadine Angerer clash in USA-Germany semifinal

    Jun 30, 2015, 2:20 PM EDT

    OTTAWA, ON - JUNE 26: Hope Sollo of USA smiles during the FIFA Women's World Cup 2015 Quarter Final match between China and United States at Lansdowne Stadium on June 26, 2015 in Ottawa, Canada.  (Photo by Lars Baron - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images) Getty Images

    The two best goalkeepers in the world square off in the Women’s World Cup semifinals.

Featured video

PST Extra: Done deals & transfer gossip