Seattle Sounders Face Must-Win Games
Last week, I predicted a 2-0-1 finish for the Sounders in their final three games of the season.
Unfortunately, after the loss on Friday to the Vancouver Whitecaps, my prediction fell flat after just a single game. Both teams played with intensity, yet it was the hungry Whitecaps who edged the Sounders 1-0 after a goal just before the half. Now the Whitecaps hold the final playoff spot in the Western Conference; however, even with the loss, the Sounders somehow managed to sustain their spot atop the Western conference table.
In a strange turn of events, as Seattle fell on Friday, so too did Los Angeles on Sunday, as the Galaxy suffered a 2-1 defeat at the hands of FC Dallas.
With the two losses for the top two teams in the West, the race for the Western Conference top seed - as well as the Supporters' Shield - is tighter than ever. Seattle boasts a 19-10-3 record while Los Angeles is 17-6-9. Sounders currently sit atop the standings with more wins than the Galaxy.
However, with only two games remaining in the season, it all comes down to who wants it more.
The fight for supremacy could not have had a better finish - both the Sounders and the Galaxy control their own fate as the two teams have a home-and-away series scheduled for Sunday, October 19th (in Los Angeles) and Saturday, October 25th (in Seattle). The goal for both teams is quite simple - win and get the top spot. Nonetheless, for both teams, who have been prolific all season, the task could not be tougher, as the two offenses have been scoring at superb rates.
All season long, these Sounders have shown grit. Now they must avenge the 3-0 loss that they suffered at the hands of the Galaxy earlier in the season at home, and have to come out firing. Defense will not win these games - Obafemi Martins, Clint Dempsey, and Lamar Neagle all have to play brilliant football in order to give the Rave Green a chance to claim the top spot.
Even if the Sounders win 1 of the 2 games, they can secure the top spot in the Western Conference and the Supporters' Shield due to them having won more games than the Galaxy.
The struggle, however, is that they might be gassed.
It definitely showed in the loss to the Whitecaps - at the end of the long, grueling season, in which they also went all the way in the U.S. Open Cup, the Sounders are beginning to look tired. But now is the time to put all excuses aside.
The goal is loftier this season than any in years past - the MLS title awaits, and the road to victory can be made much easier with just two more wins against the tough, but beatable Los Angeles Galaxy.