Third time’s a charm?
The Sounders failed in their previous two attempts to formally clinch a playoff berth, but they’ll have another chance Wednesday at home against rival Vancouver. Here are the scenarios:
— Seattle beats the Whitecaps. Plain and simple. For the third straight game.
Seattle ties the Whitecaps AND San Jose is held to a tie or loss at home against Colorado.
(UPDATE 2:43 p.m. — Playoff scenarios released by MLS on Monday revealed a Rapids win or tie against the Earthquakes on Wednesday would automatically clinch a berth regardless of the Seattle-Vancouver game)
Both those head-to-head results would also allow the Sounders to reclaim the Cascadia Cup.
On the wider scale, Seattle comes into the week second place in the Western Conference, marking the first time in four weeks the team hasn’t been at least tied for first.
The league’s highest points-per-game average, however, which coincides with the league’s highest maximum point total, remains a silver lining amid recent struggles. Games in hand don’t mean much if they don’t turn into points, of course, and Seattle has earned just two of the last available nine with an 0-1-2 stretch.
The Sounders will face a desperate opponent Wednesday, as the Whitecaps probably need to win out to have any realistic hope of making the playoffs again.
Maybe some urgency will be shared, as Seattle could lose control of its Supporters’ Shield destiny this week.