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October 28, 2011 at 3:16 PM

Playing on the road: go for the win or play conservatively?

Seattle Sounders FC Logo.jpgSounders FC was unequivocally the best road team in MLS this season with a 9-3-5 record. Seattle remarkably earned more points on the road (32) than at home (31), and much of that success has come from a “go for the win” mentality.

Will that change in Saturday’s road leg of the Western Conference semifinals at Real Salt Lake?

Midfielder Brad Evans doesn’t think so.

“I don’t think we’re going to bunker down,” he said. “That’s not our style. … For us, we’ve haven’t been afraid to play our game on the road.”

Coach Sigi Schmid also addressed the subject this week.

“We’re a team that goes on the road to win,” he said. “We’re not a team that goes on the road to tie. In all my years of coaching, (I’ve noticed) that when you put it in your team’s mindset, ‘OK, let’s just get out here, let’s get a tie out of this one, let’s just get a result, let’s just play it close,’ all of a sudden you take, sometimes, the edge off your team.

“I think we’ve been a good road team. I think they know that a tie is a good result. They’re smart enough to figure that out, but we’re going to take what the game gives us. We’re not going to bypass chances to go forward and score goals just for the sake of getting a tie, so if we can get a win we’re going to try and get a win. We want to come out with at least a tie, so we want to keep the game close at all accounts.”

And then, as one last thought, he said: “The one goal we set for ourselves in the playoffs is that we don’t want to be taking the first goal.”

So what do you think? Should the Sounders go for the win? Should they play the way they have all season? Or should they be a little more conservative? Lastly, should the absence of Rosales play into strategy?

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