The Seattle Sounders have been the most successful team in MLS over the last five years as they have won the MLS Cup twice and finished runners-up once during that period.
After an excellent start in 2021, the Western Conference franchise looks to be on course for glory. Through their opening eight games, Seattle is yet to suffer defeat as they have won five and drawn three of their matches.
The Sounders are the favourites in MLS Cup betting at bookies like https://www.howtobet.com/mls-betting/. Given the start they have made, it is no surprise that they top the outright market for the trophy.
There is still a long way to go until the final in the playoffs on December 11, but head coach Brian Schmetzer will be delighted with the start they made. The American will have been particularly pleased with the way his players have picked themselves up following the defeat in the MLS Cup final to Columbus Crew.
Raul Ruidiaz Has Been Sharp In Front Of Goal
Peruvian striker Raul Ruidiaz has been in impressive form in the early stages of the season, scoring six goals in his opening eight MLS matches. If the 30-year-old continues at this rate, he could be set for his best-ever tally in the USA.
Ruidiaz has been a big part of Seattle’s success since he signed in 2018 from Morella. He has been linked with a long-term contract with the franchise and the start he has made in 2021 certainly helps the player in those negotiations.
Seattle thought they were going to be without Ruidiaz for around a month due to a call-up for his national team at Copa America. Surprisingly, the Peruvian was not called up into Ricardo Gareca’s squad, as reported at https://www.sounderatheart.com/2021.
Keeping an in-form Ruidiaz for the period of the Copa America is a big boost and should help them continue their record-breaking start to the campaign.
Switch To 3-5-2 Has Helped
Schmetzer has been a big fan of the 4-2-3-1 since he took over as the head coach of the Sounders in 2016. This season he has switched to 3-5-2 and it has worked well with the players he has at his disposal.
Seattle has been without captain Nicolas Lodeiro, which is one of the reasons why Schmetzer has gone for the 3-5-2 formation. He has only played 24 minutes this season, so once he does return to action, it will give the Sounders boss options.
Nouhou Tolo is one of the players who has benefited the most from his side’s change in formation and has excelled in the left centre-back position. Seattle has been very strong at the back so far, while at the same time, their attacking prowess has not suffered either.
The goal at the end of the year will be to lift the MLS Cup. For now, though, they are just concentrating on picking up as many wins as they can in the regular season.