MLS Playoffs 2014: Seattle Sounders Fighting to the Finish
It's been a great week to be a Sounders FC fan.
On Saturday, the Seattle Sounders won their first ever Supporters' Shield in their short history in the MLS, and with it, proved that they are serious contenders to complete the treble and win the U.S. Open Cup, the Supporters' Shield, and the MLS Cup.
With a 2-0 victory over the Los Angeles Galaxy in front of over 57,000 wild fans at home (myself included), the Sounders finished with 64 total points, 20 wins, and full momentum heading into the playoffs. MLS teams beware - Seattle is hungry for a title and this year seems to be the season where they can break through to the MLS final and come out with a win. Although Marco Pappa and Stafan Frei appeared to be the heros of the match - with 2 goals and 4 saves respectively, it was the Sounders' striker who once again proved his worth in the waning moments of the game.
No, not the U.S. Men's National Team captain Clint Dempsey.
The new poster boy for Seattle Sounders soccer is Obafemi Martins.
It was Martins who set up the beautiful assist to Pappa in the 85th minute to help the Sounders claim a 1-0 lead over the Galaxy, getting his 13th assist of the season on that pass. Along with the myriad of assists, Martins has also had a barrage of goals, with 17 this season. Though neither stat ranks tops in the league, the combination of both is truly spectacular - Martins ranks in the top 5 in both goals and assists this MLS campaign.
This season, Obafemi Martins may very well come away with the MLS Most Valuable player award, but his efforts for Seattle deserve much more recognition than just an award.
As it turns out, the Seattle Sounders felt the same way.
On Tuesday, October 28th, the Sounders signed their star forward to a multi-year contract extension (details still pending) which will surely keep the Nigerian striker around in Seattle for several more quality seasons. What's more is that on Tuesday, Martins also celebrated his 30th birthday - the extension could possibly be one of the best birthday presents he could have received.
By locking Martins up for the future, the Sounders made it a point to say that it was Martins job to lead the fearful attack of the Sounders - an attack which scored 67 goals this season, second most in the league.
However, why look to the future, when the men from Seattle can seize their opportunities in the present. Two-thirds of their goals have been accomplished, in the U.S. Open Cup victory and the Supporters' Shield. Now they must look towards the MLS Playoffs, in hopes to capture the MLS Cup for the very first time.
As of now, the Sounders don not know their opponent for the first round of the playoffs. It could be either the Vancouver Whitecaps or FC Dallas, who play today at 9 pm ET. The Sounders have fared fairly well against FC Dallas this season, with a 3-2 win over Dallas on April 12th, a 2-1 win over Dalls on May 7th, and a 3-1 loss to Dallas on September 24th. However, against the Whitecaps, it has been a different story, with a 2-2 draw with the Whitecaps on May 24th, a 1-0 loss to the Whitecaps on July 5th, and a 1-0 loss to the Whitecaps on October 10th.
Nonetheless, as the Sounders head to the field on Sunday, November 2nd, they will surely have their target set on the MLS Cup, and with their prolific attacking force, steadfast defense, and skileld goalkeeper, look to defeat every single team in their way in order to win it all.
This is their season, and the Sounders will fight to the very end.