The Seattle Sounders are the hottest team in MLS right now. With their latest run, they have surged into playoff contention in the West. But that is just the start for this team.
The Seattle Sounders are soaring. After a torrid start to the year in which they opened with a loss to expansion side Los Angeles FC in their own stadium, Seattle are now steaming their way back into playoff contention in the Western Conference.
They are now in the midst of the best run of form in MLS. A club-record six straight wins were achieved on Saturday with a record-tying margin of victory, a 5-0 dismantling of playoff rivals, Los Angeles Galaxy.
That win now puts them firmly in the playoff race. The Sounders sit just one position below the playoff line but have two games in hand on both Real Salt Lake and Saturday opponent’s, LA Galaxy. If they win either of those games, they will leapfrog both clubs and could haul their way up to fourth if the Portland Timbers cannot take advantage of their games in hand.
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At this point, the playoffs seem like an inevitability for Seattle. They are perennial contenders at this point in the season and many dismissed the doubts of a late-season run this time around because of their history and pedigree. Even though the depths of their early-season troubles were greater than in year’s past and many, myself included, did question whether they could recover, some just had this innate confidence in Seattle’s ability to force themselves into the sharp end of the competition. And so it proved.
But sneaking into the playoffs is not where this Seattle team is aiming for. At this point, the playoffs seem almost like an inevitability. Seattle can’t allow themselves to think like that. Complacency will seep in if they do and they still do not have the greatest margin for error during the final stretch of the season. But getting to the playoffs is now just a stepping stone towards greater things.
The good teams are simply happy to be in the competition. The great teams are the ones that want to win it all. Seattle should be trying to be the latter. In their current form, they certainly look like one.
The cohesiveness of their performance against the Galaxy was phenomenal. The high pressing from the backline through to the forwards to force turnovers, the speed at which they played the ball through the attacking zones, the creativity of their play, the accuracy of their crossing and distribution, the ruthlessness of their decision making when opportunities arose. This was a wonderfully and clinically coherent performance.
And as long as they continue to put in showings like this one, Seattle can aim high. Because this was one of the best performances by any club this season, and that makes them very, very dangerous indeed.