The defending MLS Cup champs haven’t had the easiest go of it in the 2017 campaign, as Seattle currently has a 5-7-6 record and are out of the playoff picture. As the Sounders enter a weird July schedule, one match in a 14 day stretch, something needs to change as the team looks to get back into the playoff hunt.
Seattle’s draw against Portland on Sunday, June 25th, was impressive as it gave the team a crucial point — with two away goals — to aide the team in its push for the playoffs. But they need some major improvement after this oddly scheduled July if the Sounders are going to make a serious run at defending the MLS Cup.
This July, Seattle has two matches scheduled in its first week — July 4th against Colorado, and July 8th against Eintracht Frankfurt. Then the Sounders don’t play another match until the 19th of the month against D.C. United at home; and then they don’t play again until the 23rd. It’s a weird scheduling quirk, but the nearly two weeks off should give head coach Brian Schmetzer a chance to develop a plan to improve his team’s performance heading into the second half of their MLS slate.
According to Sounder at Heart, one of the things Schmetzer is already focusing on improving his the players’ conditioning heading into the second half.
Other than players leaving for the Gold Cup, Schmetzer said every single Sounder will get a fitness plan during this stretch to get them at their absolute best before the season gets back into full swing in mid-July. He singled out players like Gustav Svensson, who have stayed pretty healthy all season, as an example of a player who might not appear to need a special routine. “It’s not just the top guys, everybody is going to have a specific training plan to make sure that when the season starts up again, we’ll have everyone at full strength.” — Spenser Davis, Sounder at Heart
With a sport that’s as gruelling and endurance based as soccer is, the decision to get the players a fitness plan for the 11-days off is a smart one. Increasing the team’s fitness, and endurance, as they push through the second half of the season in order to work their way into the playoffs is a smart move.
Another beneficial situation, for Seattle, is that the transfer window — when players from other countries can be transferred into the line-up — is soon. By adding new players to the roster, this could inject new energy into the roster as we’re heading towards the later matches of the season.
Western Conference standings
|Sporting Kansas City – X||30||8||4||6|
|Houston Dynamo – X||25||7||6||4|
|Portland Timbers – X||25||7||7||4|
|FC Dallas – X||25||6||3||7|
|San Jose Earthquakes – X||23||6||6||5|
|LA Galaxy – X||22||6||6||4|
|Vancouver White Caps||21||6||6||3|
|Seattle Sounders FC||21||5||7||6|
|Minnesota United FC||18||5||9||3|
|Real Salt Lake||17||5||11||2|
- X, is a team currently holding a playoff spot
MLS Standings are accurate as of the end of the day on 6/27/2017
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