At the end of the season, Sunday’s match between Montreal and Seattle may be forgotten by many of us. For the Sounders, it will go down as three points against a team that may not be going anywhere this year. But what we saw was the Sounders identity becoming a little clearer.
This is a Sounders team that in its 6 year history has been known for making all the pretty passes, but sometimes lacked the grit that was needed to win on the road, and to win when your star was not there. But Sunday, missing DP Clint Dempsey, Seattle were outshot 25-9, conceded 55% possession, but still found a way to make the most of their scoring opportunities.
It was obvious very early in the match that even though the Montreal Impact were having success in attacking young left back Dylan Remick with Justin Mapp and the overlapping Eric Miller, the quality in the final pass was lacking on the day. All the crosses from Mapp and Brazilian Felipe Martins were either off the mark or easily handled by Seattle’s centerbacks. Plus forward Andrew Wenger couldn’t get a shot on frame. In a match where there was tons of space, due to both teams playing with a three-man midfield, Seattle let Montreal go up and down the field knowing that without Marco Di Vaio, quality chances would be hard to come by.
A match like this allowed Sigi Schmid to see how his team would operate when Dempsey, Brad Evans and possibly Obafemi Martins are at the World Cup — to see how Gonzalo Pineda could step in for Brad Evans, to allow the education of DeAndre Yedlin and Dylan Remick to continue, and to give newcomer Michael Azira 24 minutes of playing time. Some of the key players Sunday afternoon may not be Sigi’s primary starters during the year but he is finding players that can step in and win in whatever way possible, something that Seattle hasn’t always done. All that remains is to see if they will be able to do this with Clint Dempsey in the lineup.
Seattle’s next match is home against the Columbus Crew at 10pm ET on Saturday, March 29 (available on MLS Live).