Despite making life more difficult than it needed to be against the Chicago Fire, the Seattle Sounders find themselves in a playoff spot for the first time this season.
No one has a divine right to make the playoffs. And yet, something didn’t seem quite right about the Seattle Sounders spending most of the 2016 campaign struggling near the bottom of the Western Conference.
Fortunately for Sounders’ fans, they can finally breathe a sigh of relief (at least for now). Thanks to a 1-0 victory over the Chicago Fire, the Rave Green find themselves in a playoff spot for the first time this season.
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In many ways, it was fitting that Chad Marshall should score the winning goal, with a towering header after 24 minutes of the first half. This was a scrappy affair, so who better to clinch the game than a scrappy defender? (I promise, that is not meant to be an insult, even though I now realize it sounds like one.)
In fairness though, the Sounders have no need to apologize for the performance against the lowly Fire, especially after the bad luck they suffered earlier in the season. Besides, at this point results are all that matter, and in that respect Seattle are on a tear right now, with three consecutive wins.
Marshall acknowledged the scrappy nature of the game against the Fire, when speaking to the media: “It was an ugly game, it wasn’t the free-flowing, attacking style we like to play.
“(However), at this point in the year, you’ll take three points however you can get it. It’s nice and comforting to know you can still get three points, even when you’re not playing at your best.”
Speaking about his goal, Marshall unsurprisingly deflected the praise elsewhere, particularly towards Andreas Ivanschitz: “He serves a great ball, it’s just a matter of making great runs and fortunately I was able to get on the end of it.
“Obviously, it helps having Roman Torres in there too, drawing another (player) away. If we can continue to make good runs, we should be able to keep capitalizing on them.”
With four games to go, the Sounders still have work to do, but at least they are now in a favorable position. This is particularly impressive, given that they started the season with three consecutive defeats and were 10 points out of the playoffs when Sigi Schmid left.
Next up are the Vancouver Whitecaps, who will be looking for revenge after losing recently in Seattle. Marshall said: “Obviously it’s a Western Conference opponent – they’re right there in the mix too.
“They’ll be wanting three points, so it’s another huge game. It’s been a huge week for us, so hopefully we can finish it off the right way and make it a memorable one.”
What was your main takeaway from Wednesday’s win over the Fire. Moving forward, what’s your prediction for the Sounders’ remaining four games this season? Let us know in the comments section below.