Despite a franchise-record nine-match winless streak in league play, the Seattle Sounders insist good things will come.
There may be no better time to start than Saturday, when they attempt to beat the Colorado Rapids for the fifth time in as many home matches between the Western Conference rivals.
Seattle (7-5-6) has only five points during its nearly two-month drought without a win, but two have come from back-to-back draws. The Sounders earned a scoreless tie at Real Salt Lake on Wednesday night, their first shutout since their last victory - a 2-0 win over FC Dallas on May 9.
“Obviously we’re happy with the result, we’re happy that we played to a shutout,” coach Sigi Schmid told the team’s official website. “For us right now it’s about showing determination and grit.”
The clean sheet may serve as a confidence boost to Bryan Meredith, who shook off allowing an equalizing goal that came deep in injury time June 30 versus New England and made two saves for his third shutout this season.
“It was a complete team effort tonight, for sure. It was an important game for me to play well,” he told the team’s official website. “It’s never fun to tie, but it wasn’t a tie like New England where they got a late goal. As long as we hold it to zero in the back, goals will start to come.”
The Sounders did just that April 14 against Colorado, winning 1-0 on Zach Scott’s goal in the 63rd minute for their fourth straight overall victory in the series.
The Rapids (7-9-1) are trying to regroup after losing 1-0 to Vancouver on Wednesday, ending a three-match homestand with one victory. Colorado had the run of play for most of the match and put six shots on goal, but defender Drew Moor’s poor clearance directly led to Darren Mattocks’ goal in the 43rd minute for the Whitecaps.
Striker Conor Casey had three of the six shots on frame for the Rapids as he played 90 minutes for the first time in four matches, appearing fully recovered from a ruptured Achilles suffered nearly one year ago.
“We created options all the time,” coach Oscar Pareja said. “And in the first half we probably had eight or nine times when we were creative … we didn’t put the ball in the back of the net today, and we missed a lot of chances.”
Casey has two goals in four lifetime matches versus Seattle, while forward Omar Cummings - subbed out Wednesday after 61 ineffective minutes in his sixth straight league match without a goal - has one in seven games against the Sounders.
Seattle is 5-1-1 versus Colorado since entering MLS in 2009 and has outscored the Rapids 10-4 in its four home victories.