Minnesota United FC and Seattle Sounders are dead even at 1-0-1 each in this years series. Unlike most seasons however, the Loons and Sounders will face off a magnificent three times in 2021 with tomorrow afternoon’s match being the rubber match. Once again before Minnesota and Seattle square off we spoke with Dave Clark of Sounder at Heart to get the inside scoop on MNUFC’s opposition.
E Pluribus Loonum: MNUFC handed the Sounders their first loss of the 2021 season, something Loons fans we’re quite proud about after losing the 2020 Western Conference Final, what was the reaction in Seattle?
Sounder at Heart: That loss was back during some of the worst of Seattle’s injury crisis. The result was fairly earned by the Loons, and yet still signaled that the Sounders have significant depth. At the beginning of the season up to four of starters that day would have been starting for Tacoma Defiance, Seattle’s USL Championship team. It was a fair result and the only road loss this year.
EPL: Since losing that match to MNUFC, the Sounders have gone 4-1-3 (W-D-L). What changed and why do the Sounders now look more like a grounded beatable team?
SaH: Somehow the Sounders are an average home team. Sure, they win more than they lose, but a team with only 1 road loss shouldn’t have 3 home losses and be on a four-match home winless streak, and yet!? Part of this is tactics. Seattle can’t counter when they control the ball so much, and teams sit back when visiting Lumen. That’s hard to break down. Schmetzer and his assistants have to figure out a new approach at home, because the recent one isn’t working. A team challenging for the Shield must hold serve at home.
EPL: What are the keys to beating Seattle and not ending up on the wrong end of a scoreline like Portland did a few weeks ago?
SaH: A team with a strong defense, such as Minnesota, has been able to absorb the Sounders pressure and strike out. Getting just one great shot and finishing can force the game. Cliché and all, the whole goals change games aspect of soccer has plagued Seattle at home. If Heath can be patient United have a strong chance at victory.