Sounders. Portland. In the playoffs?
Yes. As things stand, the Sounders sit in the fifth position in the MLS Western Conference and would play their I-5 rival Portland in the knockout stage match later on in October.
Six teams from the conference will make the playoffs, with the two teams earning a first-round bye. The first round is No. 3 seed playing the No. 6 seed and No. 4 vs. No. 5.
Seattle is battling Portland, Real Salt Lake, LA Galaxy and Vancouver Whitecaps for the last three open playoff spots. Eight points separate fourth place from eighth place.
The Sounders helped themselves on Monday, rolling to a 4-1 victory over Houston at CenturyLink Field. It’s their 11th win in 13 games. Victor Rodriguez scored twice in the second half to lift Seattle to a 15-11-5 record.
The road to the MLS playoffs looks good for the Sounders despite finishing with two of their last three matches on the road. However, all are against basement dwellers Orlando, Houston and San Jose.
Meanwhile, Vancouver will see three teams who would reach the playoffs if the season ends today (Kansas City, LAFC and Portland). Real Salt Lake, the last team in the top six, will need a win vs. Portland in their final game of the season and then hold off the LA Galaxy to get the final spot.
For the Sounders to move up and out of the first-round knockout game, they’ll need help. If the top three teams can beat up on each other (Sporting Kansas City, Dallas FC and LAFC) the Sounders could finish as high as second. Sporting KC faces Dallas FC and then LAFC in the season finale, so there’s a chance.