With the easy task completed the Seattle Sounders (13-9-11, 50pts ) now turn their attention to the gruesome tasks of defending their MLS title. While making the playoffs is no easy task in professional sports, the Sounders have made it a foregone conclusion that they will make the MLS playoffs every year.
The Sounders only have themselves to blame for the high expectations. The Sounders have participated in the MLS playoffs every year since they joined MLS in 2009. With last years magical MLS Championship cup run in the rear view mirror the Sounders are now focused on a repeat as MLS Champions.
The Sounders will play host to the Colorado Rapids (9-18-6, 33pts ) Sunday 1 p.m. PT) and can secure the No.2 Seed in the Western Conference Playoffs with a win. A first-round bye and home-field advantage in the Western Conference Semifinals are the spoils that await the Sounders if they are able to secure a win over the 10th place Rapids.
“We’re viewing it as a playoff game,” Head Coach Brian Schmetzer said. “It’s a one-and-done. You know in this league full of parity, we could end up fifth and then you don’t even have the home game…I’m sure the home team has a distinct advantage, but if you’re [Nos.] 5 and 6, it’s a struggle.”
The Sounders enter Sunday’s match with the second-longest home unbeaten streak in club history. They are 10-1-5 this season with the lone loss being a 1-0 defeat to Toronto FC (20-5-8) this year’s Supporters Shield winners. The Sounders best home record was set in 2013 when the Rave Green finished the season with a 14-4-1 mark.
With starters, Jordan Morris, Osvaldo Alonso and Gustav Svensson all nursing injuries , a first-round bye will be highly beneficial to the Sounders who have prospered without the starters but could use the extra depth if they are to make another deep playoff run.