Analysis: Pollsters must put CCL title aside and focus on MLS play

Unpopular opinion: Time to put away the Champions League trophy.

The Sounders were crowned kings of CONCACAF earlier this month and were celebrated during a Mariners game. The club released the material for the US Open Cup match at Starfire Sports in Tukwila last week. On Sunday, reserves Leo Chu, Danny Leyva and former University of Washington star Dylan Teves took the trophy out and placed it on a stand in front of the team benches for pre-season festivities. match – including a speech by Garth Lagerwey, the Sounders general manager and president of soccer.

But after the Open Cup loss and Sunday’s defensive mishaps that nearly led to an MLS loss to Minnesota, the championship holdover seems like a distraction.

The Sounders are 1-2-0 since winning in all competitions. The club still has a short week of travel to play the Houston Dynamo on Wednesday and the Colorado Rapids on May 22.

“I don’t need to say too much, we’ve sent a bit of a message this week but (the players) understand that we’re not going to rest on our laurels,” Sounders coach Brian said. Schmetzer, when asked if the party should stop. The organization will raise a banner and officially recognize their place in history as the first MLS team to win the CCL title on July 9 against Portland at Lumen.

“We want to be in the playoffs (MLS) at the end of the year, play at a high level and go further in the playoffs,” continued Schmetzer. “This club’s goal now is to win the MLS Cup. Can we grab the supporter shield? The Eastern teams are flying and LAFC have done a great job of starting the season, we’ll see but what I want for this team is to understand that just because we won the Champions League doesn’t mean it’s a successful season, we want to make sure we get more.

Sounders goaltender Stefan Frei scoffed that the team was in a “must-win” situation. Seattle is 11 years oldand in the Western Conference table after beating Minnesota 3-1 on Sunday.

Houston (4-4-3) and Colorado (4-4-3) are over the playoff line, with the Rapids currently undefeated at home. Dynamo are 3-1-3 at PNC Stadium after a win over Nashville SC on Saturday.

“We won a game, I don’t know if you can call it momentum,” Frei said. “It’s three points. Its good. It’s going to be two very tough games on the road now, back to back against teams that are in good position. It’s not a “must-win” situation at this point. But we’re already starting to watch six-point games, if you will.

“Usually you would start talking about it towards the end of the season. We have conference games and these are games that we look at where we want to take points away from our opponents and move us in the right direction.

Average spin

The Sounders improved to 2-5-2 all-time without Joao Paulo in the lineup. Teenage midfielder Obed Vargas replaced league MVP runner-up against Minnesota and was expected to get a consistent streak. But Vargas will not be available for selection against Houston due to a one-game suspension for accumulating yellow cards.

Vargas showed his fifth yellow of the season in the 10and minute. He was replaced in the 61st minute for utility veteran Kelyn Rowe.

How Rowe recovered from Sunday’s streak will determine if he starts against Houston. Schmetzer also wants to give Leyva and Josh Atencio chances this season to take Joao Paulo’s place.

“Josh played well in the Open Cup match,” Schmetzer said. “When Kelyn comes in there, it’s kind of stable. With Obed he can manage. Josh is the athlete, can go up and down. Danny is the thinker of this group, finds a few extra passes. It changes the composition of how the band plays.

What’s the secret ?

Sounders midfielder Cristian Roldan has made three fouls in the box that have resulted in penalties this season. It became a talent for the already savvy veteran, who drew against the Loons and also registered a goal and an assist in the win.

“He causes penalties because his movement is aggressive inside the penalty area,” Schmetzer said. “He sometimes puts himself in danger. It’s just part of who he is.