The Seattle Sounders are looking ahead to the playoffs. We have just muscled through the toughest remaining game on our schedule and must only face Houston and RSL, not exactly a murderers’ row, to finish out the year.
The regular season is a wash. Once upon a time, 2015 was MLS Cup or bust. Now we’re looking at being happy with the 4th seed. The first round bye, which flickered back into hope for a moment two weeks ago, is a goner. Anything can happen in the wild west, but it is looking more likely we’ll be the 5th seed, hopefully the 4th, and that means a matchup with either SKC or Vancouver.
I am going to play devil’s advocate here, but it sure seems the Rave Green faithful has settled. Sunday night, the stadium was rocking. For the final fifteen minutes, as Seattle laid siege to L.A.’s goal, all of Sodo was echoing with ECS chants. Then the place exploded when Barrett’s strike finally equalized. The only problem… we were way too excited for barely earning a draw at home.
MLS is a weird league. Too often a random team gets hot and tears through November on their way to the Cup. If we are being honest with ourselves, we’ll admit to thinking that this year that team is us. We know we don’t have a perfect team, or a peeking team, or, hell, even a very resilient team (Sunday being only the second time in 32 games we’ve mustered a result after ceding the first goal). But we keep telling ourselves, “once we’re healthy” and “once we’ve gelled” that “we’ll get hot and make a serious run in the playoffs.”
I want to believe that but, man, we haven’t exactly looked like world beaters. If we celebrate a draw at home to L.A., do we really expect to beat L.A. when it matters? Sure, things have been much better since the summer swoon, but this team still has issues. We’ve dropped too many points lately: Sunday night struggling for a draw, on the road at a depleted SKC, and at RSL when we got whupped. These results don’t inspire much confidence.
Do you expect this squad, not it’s ideal form, but this squad as it is, fatigued, injured and all, to win two series as an underdog and then the MLS Cup Final? It is not an easy answer. The Sounders that muddled out draws at SKC and L.A. will just be another postseason disappointment. But the Sounders that destroyed Vancouver in back-to-back games could win MLS Cup. Hell, they should win MLS Cup. Maybe we must all start hoping the ‘Caps fall to the fourth seed, so we can kick off our postseason with some much needed momentum.