Confidence can’t turn into complacency.
That was the message from Sounders FC captain Kasey Keller. After disappointment and frustration consumed the first few months of the season, Seattle is finding the winning form that was expected from the second-year MLS franchise.
In a recent four-game stretch in 10 days, the Sounders won two vital MLS games against Western Conference opponents and beat El Salvadoran club AD Isidro Metapan in the two-game preliminary round of the CONCACAF Champions League (CCL).
“But it can stop just as quickly as we got it going,” Keller said. “And we want to make sure that doesn’t happen.”
Coach Sigi Schmid said the team’s work rate and self-belief are at a high, and winning has become infectious.
But with that, Keller said, you can never “just say, ‘OK, we’re cruising. We’re good.’ It doesn’t work that way. You’ve got to make sure that with that confidence you put forth the effort and determination and say, ‘Look, I don’t want to lose.’ ”
Riding a three-game MLS winning streak, Seattle has jumped to fourth in the West and sixth overall in its playoff push. Sounders FC also has a seven-game unbeaten streak in all competitions (MLS, CCL and U.S. Open Cup) and hasn’t been shut out since May.
The rewards have included a number of individual honors. Forward Fredy Montero was named MLS Player of the Month for recording either a goal or assist in each game in July. Midfielder Steve Zakuani was MLS Player of the Week for his two-goal effort in a 2-0 win against Colorado on July 25.
Forward Nate Jaqua was named U.S. Open Cup player of the quarterfinal round this week, after scoring both goals in a 2-0 win July 7 against Los Angeles.
“Everything that we earn, it renews our sense of what we’re doing here,” said Montero through a translator. “And the errors we’ve made, we’ve learned from them. So you reflect (on your accomplishments also) and you keep moving forward.”