The Seattle Sounders hosts Sporting Kansas City tonight in the final match of the 2016 MLS Cup Playoffs Knockout Round.
Seattle is hosting their 3rd Knockout Game in team history and look to stay perfect. Kansas City would love to reverse the curse of last year’s knockout game madness (2 rounds of PKs, a double-poster, goalie vs goalie). It’s crazy to think that such stalwart rivals have never met in the playoffs before (though SKC has only shared the West with Seattle for two years), and now a new chapter gets to be written in this rivalry.
I am watching the DCU-MTL game currently and am flabbergasted that Montreal, the team with all the locker room drama, is grinding out a professional result away. Despite the score in the game currently being contested, the home team holds an incredible advantage in MLS Knockout games, having won 9 of the last 11.
Other numbers look good for a Seattle win tonight. SKC has only won 3 times away this season, whereas Seattle has taken all 3 points at home 10 times. Of course the last time these two teams met in Seattle, SKC won 1-0. But other than that result, SKC’s two road wins were separated by 5 months and 3 weeks; they won 2-0 at RBNY on April 9th, and then recently dispatched the Quakes in the South Bay in late September.
The win at the Red Bulls looks great on SKC’s 2016 resume. But context: that result in New York New Jersey, came during the Red Bulls atrocious start, where they lost 6 of their first 7 matches, while only scoring 5 goals and being shut out 5 times. New York is no longer that team that lost to Sporting, and neither are the Sounders.
The context for our first home loss paints a very different picture than the score line. Oneil Fisher saw straight red on a tickytacky call in the 30th minute and SKC had over an hour to find the winner. Of course Fisher won’t be our first choice RB tonight, and Nico Lodeiro will be on the pitch, but the biggest difference will be J-Mo Smooth.
Jordan Morris, in his professional debut, was not the player he is now. He flashed potential but also began his finishing troubles in that SKC match.
— Seattle Sounders FC (@SoundersFC) March 7, 2016
Now Morris has the finishing quality to accompany his speed, vision and hustle. J-Mo with a brace. The party continues. Seattle 3-1.