Sounders FC coach Sigi Schmid finally got to use his four shiniest offensive pieces over the weekend – but he’s still figuring out how to fit them together.
His first try at clustering Fredy Montero, Eddie Johnson, Mauro Rosales and Alvaro Fernandez into place didn’t work so well Saturday at Vancouver. However, he adjusted: moving Montero back to morph his 4-4-2 formation into something more like a 4-2-3-1. And that helped Seattle come from behind twice in a 2-2 draw with the White Caps at BC Place.
“The coach is smart,” said Johnson, who scored Seattle’s first goal just two minutes after the halftime adjustment. “He changed the formation. In the second half he dropped Fredy deep in the midfield and played with five in the midfield and kind of left me up top. … It worked out well. We had a lot of success in the second half. We just want to build off these positives.”
Montero, who scored the second goal, also approved.
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“I don’t mind to come back and get the ball and play,” he said. “It is what I know. It is what I want to do for the team. At the end of the game, I got the opportunity to score really far from the goalie, you know – he was out of the box. So, I like to do that, too.”
Montero has played in all 11 games this season, and on Saturday caught David Estrada for the team goal-scoring lead, with four. Johnson has played eight games, Rosales seven, and Fernandez six.
But when Fernandez returned from a quad strain on Saturday, it marked the first time they all shared the pitch: Montero and Johnson up front at forward, Rosales and Fernandez at midfield.
However, all those notes didn’t instantly become beautiful music.
This is how Schmid explained it:
“It’s sort of a work in progress. We haven’t had those four guys on the field yet this year. It’s like you sort of think, ‘It might look like this.’ But when you get them out there, it doesn’t look like that, so you’ve got to tweak it and you’ve got to adjust it a little bit. And I’ve always been a coach that it’s not about, ‘You’ve got to play my system.’ It’s about, ‘Let’s create something that allows you to take advantage of your talents.’ That’s why we made the change at halftime because we said, ‘This ain’t working.’ Because we almost had like four guys up in a line in the first half, and that wasn’t being successful. And then once we dropped Fredy in, then the combinations were there. … That arrangement of those four was much better in the second half.”
The Sounders return to action at 7 p.m. Wednesday, when Columbus visits CenturyLink Field.
Chelsea FC’s win over Bayern Munich in the UEFA Champions League final Saturday added some shine to the club’s July 18 friendly with the Sounders in Seattle.
“Obviously, it’s great when you’re playing against the Champions League winners,” Schmid said. “That’s a great thrill for our club, and I think it should be a great day for our fans. Chelsea, deservedly with the trophy, gets a chance to honor their team on this tour, as well. It will be a great day.”