The Sounders have always valued MLS Cup over Supporters Shield.
However, Supporters Shield takes added value to the Sounders now because it offers a path into the 2013 CONCACAF Champions League. Seattle has qualified for three straight CCLs, but those entries came as U.S. Open Cup champion.
With that CCL slot going to Sporting KC next season, there are two remaining paths open to the Sounders: advancing to MLS Cup or earning Supporters Shield. (They also could slide in if the same MLS team qualifies in more than one way, or if a Canadian club takes one of those slots. Then, the U.S.-based MLS club or clubs with the best regular season records would move into any remaining Champions League slots.)
“We always want to participate in (CCL) and represent Seattle on a regional basis,” Schmid said in a conference call today. “I guess the paths are either Supporters Shield or (getting to MLS Cup). But that’s our goal anyway: We want to win MLS Cup. We want to get to the Cup final game; and then if we do that, we achieve a path into CONCACAF as well.”
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Heading into weekend action, San Jose leads MLS with 44 points and an average of 1.91 points per game. Seattle is sixth with 37 points and fifth with average of 1.68 points. Those two clubs meet Saturday in the Bay Area.