It is always a treat to talk to folks from around the network, and so it was that Mark Kastner of Sounder at Heart reached out to us about engaging in a bit of questioning.
Without further ado, here are my questions and his answers.
1. With matches coming fast and frequently, what strategy has Brian Schmetzer taken toward keeping players fit and ready to go?
The Sounders really haven’t had to rotate much since, well, their last match against Salt Lake. The schedule has been very kind to Seattle in terms of midweek matches. That all changes now, and for the rest of the season, with the Sounders basically playing once every 4-5 days. They’ll also be without Raul Ruidiaz (he’s good), Gustav Svensson (he’s also good), and Xavier Arreaga (he’s, well, he’s interesting) for the next six games because of international duty. So, to answer your question, I guess we’ll see. I expect at least 3 changes from the win over Vancouver on the weekend. Maybe more.
2. We played against each other not too long ago. What’s changed? Why do you keep winning games?
Not a lot has changed, besides losing two games to Portland. Rivalry matches are always super weird, and once you add in a pandemic, no fans in the stands, playing your rival like every three weeks, and all the other stuff, weirdness is bound to happen. Despite those two losses, the Sounders have won four games...all by multiple goals. The reason why the Sounders win a lot of matches is because Nicolás Lodeiro and João Paulo (my personal Lord and Savior) keep the ball and make good passes, Jordan Morris kicks it in the net, and Stefan Frei saves more shots than he doesn’t. It’s not a very complicated formula but it keeps working.
I wish this answer was more complex. I’m sorry. The Sounders are just good.
3. What’s it like being at the top of the Western Conference? Is it nice there? (And, more importantly, are you confident in staying there?)
This season is so strange, man. I’m not really sure what to make about anything because every team is playing the same four teams over and over again. I enjoy that the Sounders are beating their regional group. That’s a lot of fun. But I can’t really make any sort of assertions compared to teams we don’t play. So, I think the Sounders will finish at the top or in second place in the West. I think the Sounders could go deep in the playoffs, whatever they look like, and I think they have a really decent shot at winning MLS Asterisk Cup.