Aug 17

Sounders making a playoff push

With so many teams making the playoffs in MLS and the immense parity among squads, it’s no wonder a team getting on a good run towards the end of the season can carry that wave of success all the way to an MLS Cup. We saw it as recent as last year with the Portland Timbers getting hot in the second half of the season and remaining hot all the way to a championship.

With 11 games to go and currently five points out of the Western Conference playoff race, the Seattle Sounders still have a legitimate shot of turning the tables on their disastrous season thus far and making a playoff run.

The Sounders have been awful this season, but are typically a perennial contender, who had high expectations going into this season. Unfortunately they lost star striker Obafemi Martins right before the season began, experimented with new formations, were trying to work in a new rookie in Jordan Morris and were without the heart of their attack in Clint Dempsey while he was away with the U.S. National Team. Amongst the turmoil they also fired longtime coach Sigi Schmid.

Well the dust has settled and Seattle look to be on the rebound. Things have settled under interim coach Brian Schmetzer and the offense suddenly has new life with the addition of newly signed Designated Player Nicholas Lodeiro from Boca Juniors.lodeiro

The Sounders are now unbeaten in three games and riding a two-game winning streak as they prepare to host their Cascadia rivals the Portland Timbers at home this Saturday. Coincidentally it is the Timbers who currently hold the last Western Playoff spot in 6th place who the Sounders are chasing. This game is HUGE. Despite the already existing rivalry, it should be mentioned that Portland has yet to win a game on the road all season.

The Sounders only have MLS to worry about as they are eliminated from the U.S. Open Cup and are not playing in the CCL, which means their clear and only focus is on at least finishing in 6th place.

If you look at their remaining schedule they have five of their 11 games at home, which is just an average amount, but only five games against current playoff teams. Two of those are against the aforementioned Timbers, whom and this is key, they hold two games in hand on. Should Seattle win this weekend, they will be only two points back of Portland, with one game in hand and some favourable matches ahead including games against the West’s 10th place Houston Dynamo and one against the East’s 10th place Chicago. They play Chicago at home as well, and Chicago has yet to win on the road in two years. Games against San Jose and two with Vancouver are also hardly teams in good form right now either. They will have some stiff competition against LA, FC Dallas and RSL to close out the season on October 23.

Outside of their games with Seattle, the only non-playoff team Portland faces before the end of the year are Houston and Vancouver.

Even looking a bit past only catching Portland in the standings, sit Sporting Kansas City. SKC who are only eight points in the clear of Seattle and have played three more games than the Sounders. SKC aren’t exactly setting the world on fire with only two wins in their past six games as well.

Once you get into the playoffs anything can happen. Seattle’s stock is rising and with odds currently sitting between 36 and 39-1 to win the MLS Cup, there are far worst teams to take a flyer on from a value perspective.