Seattle can become the first MLS team to clinch a spot in the playoffs Sunday if they beat New York while FC Dallas loses to Columbus and the San Jose Earthquakes lost to Chivas USA.
Whether the achievement comes then or later, it would continue the Sounders run of five playoff appearances over their five seasons in MLS.
“It says a lot for the club and the organization for us to have started out well in our first year getting into the playoffs and then to stay there,” coach Sigi Schmid said today. “I think it’s only us, L.A. and Salt Lake (who could qualify every season since 2009). For us to do it as an expansion team year in and year out speaks for the consistency and the quality of the organization.”
There was a time when the road to playoff qualification demanded a pretty long climb up a pretty steep hill. Five games into the season, Seattle stood at the bottom of the Western Conference with a 0-3-2 record. As recently as mid-August they were still sixth in the West, where the top five finishers qualify.
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Yet, Schmid said he never doubted that his team was up to the task.
“I know there were a lot of people … who started to doubt a little bit,” he said. “But I think the group always believed in it, and for me it’s something I always believed in as well.”