Sounders show depth in 4-0 win over Whitecaps

Sounders show depth in 4-0 win over Whitecaps

SEATTLE — During their first few months of the season, the Seattle Sounders have convincingly shown that they are as good at just about anyone when they have something like a full-strength team. In 16 games in at least nine first-choice competitions, the Sounders have gone 9-3-5 – a pace that would put them in contention for the Supporters’ Shield.

The main problem, so far, has been with games where he has made six or fewer ideal starts. In their first five such games, the Sounders went 0-3-2 – a pace that would virtually ensure them last place in the standings.

With just five ideal starts for Tuesday’s match against the Vancouver Whitecaps, the Sounders eventually turned to the type of depth-flexing performance we had long believed they were capable of. Yes, first-choice players such as Ral Ruidiaz (two goals), Nicolas Lodeiro (one goal) and Alex Roldan (one goal) supplied the scoring punch, but there was much to be liked from those who did not make automatic starts. are.

It was not just personnel who were turned down due to injuries and international duty, it was the way they were deployed. Most notable of the innings was slipping Lodeiro back in a row to play with Obed Vargas in a double-pivot.

Lodeiro responded with a boxscore-filling 101 touches, including completing 77 of 87 passes and five chances scored while swimming across the field. He also added nine recoveries, as if to show that he was not completely abandoning his defensive responsibilities. Such independence was given to Lodeiro as Vargas once again showed more maturity over his years and was able to handle defensive midfield duties mostly by himself.

“I think it worked out fine,” Vargas dead-panned in the postgame locker room. “We won 4-0.”

While this may be controversial, it is still noteworthy that head coach Brian Schmetzer is confident of positioning Vargas in this manner. Double-pivot relies heavily on two players understanding each other, and each partner Vargas has different tendencies and desires next year.

But Schmetzer once again didn’t hesitate to pair Vargas with a partner whose natural instincts would likely leave the 16-year-old on a midfield island. It also talks at the startlingly rapid speed at which Vargas takes in and processes information. Vargas has now been linked with five different partners and has started team-high 12 times in double-pivot.

“I mean, [Schmetzer] Put me in the CONCACAF final when JP went down,” Vargas said of his 60-minute performance against Pumas in place of the injured Joo Paulo. “That was all the confidence I needed. Choosing me in this sport was another expression of the confidence he had in me.”

Against the Whitecaps, Vargas mostly backed down and focused on keeping possession. He completed 40 out of 44 passes, won 7 out of 13 and was fouled four times.

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“There was a lot of conversation about how to set up the team,” Schmetzer said of the decision to pair Lodeiro and Vargas. “We also know that Nico likes to touch the ball, get as many touches as he can in games, and it fits his personality. It’s good for me too because when Nico plays a little deeper, So from back to front our game is a little better. He is not afraid to take the ball into tight spots, he is able to get out, he is able to connect the pass to the front line.”

Lodeiro’s independence was particularly evident on the Sounders’ second goal. Freddy Monteiro fell to the midfield line to catch a length ball from Stephen Frey. Lodeiro immediately moved into the space and eventually made a pass that unlocked the attacking sequence, putting Kellyanne Rowe in space before passing a pass to Jimmy Medrada in the box. Medranda’s first touch was a bit loose, but he dropped just below Ruidiaz, whose first touch netted the ball.

“When we put Freddy in Nico’s position and put Nico back in a row, I thought it worked great,” Schmetzer said. ,[Assistant coach] Freddy Juarez hits it out of the park with strategy. We played our back four more narrow and shallow – because they had wingbacks – and that opened up space and that helped Nico. ,

All this is a good sign for the team which is now looking to strike its progress. Coming straight on the heels of a three-game league losing streak, the Sounders have won 4 of 5 while edging out opponents 10-3, are in playoff position for the first time this year, and Positioned to climb even higher with your next one. Three games at home. He will also find many starters on international duty.

Sounders seem to be heating up only during the summer time.

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