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November 11, 2014 at 3:50 PM

The Day-After Report: Team defense

Much has been made about Seattle’s improved defensive performance in recent weeks — understandably so, given the unit’s rapid improvement.

The Sounders finished in a tie for fifth in the Western Conference in goals against during the regular season, allowing 50 in 34 games. Down the stretch, they conceded first-half goals in nine out of 10 matches.

Since falling into a 2-0 hole against the Galaxy on Oct. 19, though, Seattle has conceded just a single goal in seven halves of play, and even that came from the penalty spot.

Sounders coach Sigi Schmid spread the praise around Monday night in the wake of his team’s good-enough scoreless draw, from Chad Marshall and Zach Scott in the middle to DeAndre Yedlin and Leo Gonzalez on the flanks. He was even more effusive on Tuesday after training at Starfire.

Sometimes, it’s best to let the teacher’s teach, so I’m going to run Schmid’s instructive breakdown in full.

“I think it’s everybody together,” Schmid said. “When you put in a good defensive performance, it’s a lot of factors. Sometimes you see the good Chad Marshall header clearances, or you see (Stefan) Frei collect a cross or Ozzie (Alonso) chase a guy, but we neglect how Yedlin has done a good job positionally, how Leo continues to deal with guys with pace. (Brad) Evans comes in and helps, as well. (Gonzalo) Pineda stepping up at the right time, putting guys under pressure so they can’t play the ball forward at the right moment.

“That doesn’t get recorded. That doesn’t count as a steal. It’s not a recovery. It’s not an interception. But his pressure forced a guy to play negatively or square, whereas, normally, under no pressure, he’d play the ball forward.

“There’s a lot of factors that go into it.”

By the numbers: 42. The percentage of the Dallas attack that was funneled down the right half of the field toward the Fabian Castillo/Gonzalez battle, per WhoScored.com.

In their own words: “You could definitely feel the energy and it was one of those where you almost feel like a goal was going to happen, because the ball was getting sucked back into their half with the crowd cheering. It has been the same way all year. It was just tremendous” — Seattle defender Zach Scott

Up next: Sounders at L.A. Galaxy in the first leg of the Western Conference final, Nov. 23 at 2 p.m. PST.

| More in Day-After Report, MLS, Sounders FC

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