Sounders FC won’t conclude its Major League Soccer regular season until Sunday at Los Angeles.
However, there are six games today as MLS begins its final weekend. The Sounders have particular interest in a couple of those, while another will be followed closely across the league.
The one of most direct interest to Seattle is Vancouver’s visit to Real Salt Lake.
The Sounders and RSL begin this weekend tied for second place in the Western Conference with 56 points each. Seattle holds a five-goal lead in the first tie-breaker – goals scored – which means it almost certainly will take the No. 2 seeding if RSL loses today. However, if Salt Lake wins or draws, Seattle would need to at least match that result against the Galaxy.
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Either way, Seattle and Salt Lake are assured of meeting in their opening playoff round. However, the higher seed gets home-field advantage in the deciding second game of the aggregate-score series.
Schmid said he won’t change strategy Sunday regardless of what RSL does today. Beyond Western seeding, the Sounders also want to finish as high as possible in the league points race, because MLS Cup hosting rights go to the higher-seeded finalist.
That means the Sounders also will keep an eye on another game today: D.C. United (57 points) at Chicago (56 points). (1 p.m., NBCSN)
However, the game likely to attract the most league-wide attention is San Jose’s visit to Portland (3:30, NBCSN), where Earthquakes forward Chris Wondolowski is within one goal of Roy Lassiter’s single-season record of 27, which has stood since 1996.
“He was a different type of goal scorer than Wondo,” Schmid said of Lassiter. “Wondo is a guy who’s busy and active and floats around and comes at you from different places. You turn a second, and all of a sudden he’s not there. Roy, you sort of knew where he was. But … the only way you could stop it was if you took him down and got red-carded, because he speed was just phenomenal.”
Schmid was asked if he hopes Wondolowski breaks the record.
“If he breaks it, great; and if he doesn’t, it’s still been a great run. It’s drawn a lot of attention to himself, his team and to the league,” he said. “Who are they playing? They’re playing Portland? Yes, I’m probably hoping he breaks it.”