Austin FC head coach Josh Wolff is under no illusions as to how difficult holding onto his side’s unbeaten home record will be against the Seattle Sounders.
Though they lost away at Portland last week, the Verde and Black have taken six points from their opening two MLS games at Q2 Stadium this season by a 10-1 combined scoreline.
Detractors have been quick to point out that these wins, as impressive as they are, have come against struggling sides in FC Cincinnati and Inter Miami.
After a bumpy start, the Sounders have won their last three games across all competitions – including beating Club Leon 4-1 on aggregate to reach the Concacaf Champions League semi-finals. They’ll be high on confidence and a step-up in opposition for sure.
“I mentioned Portland and Seattle are the best in the West. It’s not something I say lightly,” said Wolff (via MLSsoccer.com).
“They’re a team that knows how to grind, they’re a team that knows how to win. When they don’t perform well they find ways to get results.
“There’s a reason Seattle is playing in Champions League and performing well. There’s a reason they’re in MLS Cup finals. They’re deep, they’re well-coached and they’re a competitive group. We’ll have our hands full here, but we’ll be prepared, we’ll have our strategy.
“They may play with five at the back, which wouldn’t surprise me, as they did last year, or they may come in a 4-2-3-1. We’ll have some ideas for either of those, but regardless when we’re at home we want to push the tempo, we want to be aggressive and we want to score goals and put us in a space to win the game.”
Though the Sounders will undoubtedly represent Austin’s toughest home tie of this young season so far, they do head to Texas off the back of that testing CCL trip to Mexico against Leon.
Austin midfielder Daniel Pereira is hoping to take advantage of any tiredness in Brian Schmetzer’s ranks to continue defending the club’s ‘castle’.
“Seattle’s going to be a good game,” Pereira said. “Obviously they have Concacaf going on midweek, so I don’t know what they might do against us on Sunday, they might have five back at the back, but I know they’ll be tired for sure against us, so we have to take advantage of that.
“They’re another great team, so we’re also at home. We talked about it before the season, we’ve got to stay strong at home. It’s our fortress, our castle, we’ve just got to defend and take points at home.”