With both the Revolution and Seattle Sounders in last place in their respective conferences, Saturday’s clash between the two at CenturyLink Field in Seattle could be decided by which team wants to end its winless woes the most.
Fresh off a 1-1 result at Santos Laguna that eliminated them from the CONCACAF Champions League, the Sounders have won just once in their last eight games and are on a five-game winless streak. But for the most part, the Sounders have trudged through their winless streak in style. That doesn't mean that they've turned mediocre soccer into an art form to earn sub-par results.
It means that the Sounders are playing well enough that, with just a little bit of fine tuning, they could be one of the league's best teams in a matter of weeks. A win against the Revolution could be the stepping stone Seattle needs to make its turnaround.
But the Revolution have been stepped on enough through their first four games of the year. They are currently in the midst of a 298-minute scoreless streak and haven't won since March 9. They are also dealing with the loss of Kevin Alston, who is taking an indefinite leave of absence from the team to treat a form of leukemia.
“It's tough, obviously,” said Revolution defender Chris Tierney, who may slot in for Alston at left back. “Everyone knows about the situation with Kevin. It's something we've sort of handled as a team and as a family. We obviously spoke with Kevin and all of our support is with him. We're thinking about him all week through training and as we play this weekend, but it's a job and we have to get on with it. We have to use it as motivation to work hard in his absence.”
If missing their friend and defensive leader isn’t motivation enough, coach Jay Heaps is assured that the hunger to win is.
“I don’t know many games we go into where we don’t feel all that desperate,” he said. “We just don’t have the luxury right now as a group. Every game, we need to get a result. It’s vital for both teams.”
Winning is never easy against Seattle – especially when the game is in Seattle. What is more, the Sounders aren’t playing like a team in last place in the Western Conference. The closeness of their league games, plus the fact that they earned a tie in Mexico on Tuesday – never an easy feat for an MLS team – is proof that the Sounders are capable of picking themselves up.
But the Sounders are perhaps under more pressure, as this is their worst start to a season in franchise history. The best thing the Revolution can do is to pile on more pressure – on the field during the game – through controlling the midfield, and resolute defense.
“They’ll have pressure on them to win at home," finished Tierney. "We’ll try to use that pressure against them and try to nip something.”
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