The combination of being lucky and good earned the Seattle Sounders a first-round bye in the in the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs. Major League Soccer’s adopted format of having all of the games start at the same time on the leagues last day of the season delivered on its mission to add drama, suspense, and fun.
For the Sounders ( 18-11-5, 59 points), Sundays 2-1 win over the San Jose Earthquakes (4-20-9,21 points) at CenturyLink Field delivered all three emotions. The Sounders entered the contest against the Earthquakes in fourth place and assured a playoff berth. When and who they would play would depend on the results from other games. The fact the Sounders were in the playoffs was an achievement in its self-given the team won 14 of its last 16 games setting the MLS record for the best second-half finish of any team in league history.
Schmetzer rolled out a strong lineup that was intended to add to the Sounders four-game win streak and give the Rave Green a little swagger into the postseason regardless of who and where they would play. After a scoreless first half, the drama came in the 64th minute for the 42,617 Rave Green faithful when Earthquakes forward Danny Hoesen’s shot deflected off Seattle defender Chad Marshall and into the back of the Seattle net for a 1-0 Quakes lead.
The fun and pure bedlam arrived in the 93rd minute when the Purivian strike rifled a right shot into the back of the visitors net for the game-winner and a Rave Green first round bye thanks to the Colorado Rapids improbable 2-1 come back win over FC Dallas. The Rapids who finished 11th place in the 12 team Western Conference ,scored two goals in the last ten minutes of the game against FC Dallas who were atop of the Western Conference late in September.
The brace on Sunday was Ruidiaz’s 10th goal in 14 appearances after signing a Designated Player contract on June 29th. Ruidíaz became just the eighth player in club history to record 10 goals in a season. Seattle is 12-2-0 when Ruidíaz appears in MLS play.
- Sounders FC finishes the season with 59 points (18-11-5), the third-highest total in club history (64 in 2014, 63 in 2011).
- The Rave Green now have a bye in the Knockout Round and will await the winners of LAFC-Real Salt Lake and FC Dallas-Portland.
- Nicolás Lodeiro recorded his 16th assist of the season, finishing the season ranking third in MLS, in addition to leading the league with eight game-winning assists. In addition to establishing a new Seattle single-season high, Lodeiro’s 36 regular-season assists for Seattle hold the all-time club record.