The Sounders may have saved their season with a dramatic tie on the road against the San Jose Earthquakes last weekend, but several more important games lie ahead.
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It seemed all but lost after the San Jose Earthquakes took a 1-0 lead in front of their home fans. Chris Wonolowski again struck against the Seattle Sounders, scoring his tenth goal against the Sounders early in the first half. It wasn’t until a perfect free kick by transfer and savior Nicolas Lodeiro in the 80th minute our hopes were renewed again for the playoffs.
The Sounders appeared down and out in the playoff race in the MLS Western Conference just two months ago, but Lodeiro has helped energize the team. He has been the difference at the end of August, when the Sounders earned ten points in four games. Clint Dempsey going down with an irregular heartbeat has definitely had a negative impact in recent games, but Lodeiro has helped steady the course, especially with this strike through a thicket of players on Saturday.
The Sounders have seven more games this season in which to catch the Portland Timbers for the sixth and final spot in the Western Conference playoffs. Their first of this last stretch is against the Vancouver Whitecaps, their bitter Canadian rivals. Lodeiro may have kept the Sounders’ playoff hopes alive with his free kick on Saturday, but all of these remaining games will be crucial in the Sounders’ chase for their eighth consecutive MLS playoff appearance. They have made the playoffs every season since joining the MLS in 2009.
If Seatte wants to consider themselves one of the best six teams in the conference again this year, they’ll have to prove it by digging themselves out of the hole they have dug with wins in several key games down the stretch. Lodeiro can’t keep bailing them out forever.