With seven games remaining, what are the chances of the Seattle Sounders maintaining their proud postseason streak?
Things were looking good for the Seattle Sounders as we approached the end of August. A tie and three straight wins had seen them sneak back into the playoff race, in large part thanks to Nicolas Lodeiro.
However, despite Lodeiro’s continued magic since then, the Sounders have only managed two points from their last three games. In fact, without two late strikes from their newest superstar, Seattle would have been even worse off.
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The question is, how realistic is it to expect the rave green to crash the playoff party, and keep alive their streak of qualifying every year since joining MLS in 2009? Of course it’s all about perspective, but they are better-positioned than you might think.
For a start, they have two games in hand on all but one of the teams above them, who they have a reasonable chance of catching. The fact that team is the Earthquakes, only highlights how important it was to leave San José with something in last weekend’s clash.
Another factor helping the Sounders, is that four of their remaining seven games will be at home. Regardless of how poorly they have played at times this season, they still have a decent record at CenturyLink Field.
In fact, Seattle has played particularly well of late at “The Clink”, taking 10 points from their last four games. When you consider the calibre of their opponents — FC Dallas, the LA Galaxy, Real Salt Lake and Portland — this only increases the reason for optimism.
Two of the Sounders’ remaining home opponents will be the Chicago Fire and Houston Dynamo. Given that both teams are currently tied for the fewest points in MLS, there is no excuse not to pick up six points, if you’re truly expecting to make the playoffs.
The opponent who will have the biggest say in Seattle’s postseason hopes, is the Vancouver Whitecaps, who currently sit just two points ahead of them. The Caps are themselves fighting for a top six finish in the West, so you can expect the two clashes between the Cascadia rivals to have even more spice than usual.
One final aspect to consider is Clint Dempsey, whose absence with an irregular heartbeat has coincided with the loss of form in the last three games. Of course his health is the main concern, but if he is able to come back at some point, it would provide a significant boost to the team.
In any event, taking all of the above elements into consideration, here are our predictions for their remaining games:
- H. Whitecaps – Win
- A. Galaxy – Loss
- H. Fire – Win
- A. Whitecaps – Tie
- H. Dynamo – Win
- A. FC Dallas – Loss
- H. Real Salt Lake – Win
Final record: 13 wins – 15 losses – 6 ties – 45 points
As you can see, we are expecting a strong finish to the season from the Sounders, but whether it is enough to make the playoffs remains unclear. If you use last year’s final table as a barometer — the first time six teams from each conference qualified for the postseason — they will fall six points short.
Overall though, thanks to the wizardry of Lodeiro and the timely return of the physically imposing Roman Torres, Seattle has a chance. And with everything the team has been through this season, a chance is all you can ask for at this stage.
What’s your take on the Sounders as things stand? How confident are you in them once again qualifying for the playoffs? Let us know in the comments section below.