Sounders FC will do something today that it hasn’t done yet this Major League Soccer season: board a plane.
After going 2-1 through a season-opening three-game homestand, the Sounders will leave today for their first road match Saturday at D.C. United.
“Last year we were obviously a very, very good road team, and we’ve always been a good road team ever since I’ve been here,” Sounders coach Sigi Schmid said. “That’s really because we try and take the same philosophy on the road as we play at home. … A lot of times, teams attack us a little more when we’re away from home, so that opens up a little more space for us to be able to attack them, and that’s helpful to our offensive players.”
Last season the Sounders went 9-3-5 away from home – the most road wins and fewest road losses in MLS.
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Their travel burden could be lifted somewhat this season, because MLS has gone to an unbalanced schedule that will result in fewer games with the Eastern Conference.
However, Seattle’s road schedule begins with one of its longest trips of the season.
“It’s always more challenging going three time zones because you lose that one day of training,” Schmid said. “You’ve got the (travel day today), where the only thing you can do when you get into town is if you can get into a gym and do a little bit of cardio work. As a result, we probably worked a little bit longer (Wednesday).”
Once in the nation’s capital, the Sounders will face a D.C. United side that is off to a 1-2-1 start. They are 1-1 on their pitch at RFK Stadium, which has a reputation as one of the tougher road venues in MLS, despite ranking 16th in the league with an average home attendance of 14,742.
Schmid indicated that forward Eddie Johnson (hip), midfielder Brad Evans (hamstring) and defender Jhon Kennedy Hurtado (pelvis) will travel with the team. However, midfielder Mauro Rosales (knee) and defender Adam Johansson (hamstring) apparently will not. … Seattle forward Babayele Sodade was placed on the disabled list because of a torn right anterior cruciate ligament. He suffered the injury March 24 while playing for Canada in the CONCACAF Olympic qualifying tournament.