The situation is "a lot different" than it was when Seattle coach Sigi Schmid decided to move away from last year's 4-4-2 look, but no drastic change is imminent.
There is no indication that the Sounders plan on scrapping their 4-3-3 formation, though coach Sigi Schmid conceded Thursday that the situation is “a lot different” than it was when he implemented the new look prior to this season.
“The beginning of the year was a lot different because Oba (Martins) was here,” Schmid said, referring to the forward who left Seattle for the Chinese Super League just weeks before the season.
“It’s really something that you guys like to talk about a lot more than me. It’s a big thing in the press: What are they playing? Is he a No. 8, No. 7, a No. 6? Players have characteristics and tendencies and you need players to play certain roles. … It’s a matter of taking advantage of what the players have to offer.”
Clint Dempsey is back in the fold from U.S. national team duty and expected to play on Saturday against the Galaxy at CenturyLink Field. And Schmid is again tasked with getting the most out of Dempsey, fellow Designated Player forward Nelson Valdez and standout rookie Jordan Morris.
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Seattle (5-9-2) has used nine different attacking combinations in 16 league games this season.
“We’re committed to getting the best players onto the field,” Schmid said. “As I’ve always said, formations are a reflection of players’ tendencies. So you can play what you’d call a 4-2-3-1 and it’ll look more like a 4-4-2 sometimes. Our commitment is to try and get a good mix and the right players onto the field. Clint is a guy we want to get close to the goal and we need to keep Clint in the middle of the field. You can call that a 4-4-2 or a 4-2-3-1, it doesn’t matter.
“You take the Galaxy, for example. (Coach) Bruce (Arena), especially recently, has been a 4-4-2 guy. But now, with (Steven) Gerrard in there and trying to get all of the pieces to fit together, he’s playing more of a 4-2-3-1.
“I know everybody loves to talk about it, because it’s simple. It’s like everything. There’s no explanation needed. They’re just numbers.”