Sounders Insider

Sounders hottest team in MLS since late July

The Sounders are returning to training today. Unfortunately, that's a rare session I'm going to have to miss. However, I'll try to check up on any developments and pass those along.

Meanwhile, some notes from the club:

Sounders FC Fast Facts* 1.13 - Sounders FC ranks fifth in MLS with a 1.13 goals against average. * 1.61 - Seattle's 1.61 points per game ranks third in MLS, and second in the Western Conference. * 3 - Sounders FC will play three games in eight days, beginning Saturday at the Columbus Crew. * 4 - Obafemi Martins has four game-winning goals (T-4th in MLS) and Mauro Rosales has four game-winning assists (T-3rd). * 5 - Sounders FC sits in the fifth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference. * 6 - Seattle has won six season series: Chivas USA, Dallas, D.C. United, Kansas City, Portland and Toronto.* 7 - With Sunday's win, Sounders FC reclaimed the top spot in the 2013 Cascadia Cup with seven points through four games.* 8 - Sounders FC has scored the most goals (8) between the 16-30 minute marks. * 11 - Sounders FC has amassed the fourth-most wins (11) in MLS this season. The team has allowed the fewest goals (11) in the second half, including just four goals allowed in the final half hour.* 13 - Seattle and the Chicago Fire are the only teams to secure 13 points since July 20. * 23 - Seattle has secured the second-highest point total (37) and most wins (11) through 23 games in MLS this season.* 43 - Sounders FC is unbeaten in 43 straight games (35-0-8) when scoring first. * 67,385 - Sunday night's attendance of 67,385 was the largest-ever for a soccer game in Seattle. It also marked the second-largest attendance in MLS history for a standalone match, and the third-largest worldwide last weekend. Hottest Team in MLS since July 20Seattle Sounders FC and the Chicago Fire are the hottest teams in MLS since July 20. Seattle has gone 4-1-1 in the six-game stretch, including four wins in the past five outings. Seattle and Chicago are the only sides to secure 13 points since July 20, and Seattle's plus-four goal differential is among the league's best. On Pace through 23 Games Sounders FC is on pace with the rest of the league through the opening 23 games of the 2013 season. Seattle has secured 37 points through 23 games, which is the second-highest total in MLS as four teams secured 38 points. Seattle's 11 wins at the 23-game mark matches Montreal, New York and Salt Lake for the most this season. Seattle is also on pace with the output from the club's first four seasons. The 37 points through 23 games is the second-most in club history, bested only by the 2011 campaign, and the 11 wins set a new mark. Sounders FC Reclaims Playoff SpotSunday's win over the Portland Timbers awarded Sounders FC a much-needed three points, propelling the Seattle side from seventh in the West to the fifth and final playoff spot. Seattle is eight points behind Supporters' Shield leaders Real Salt Lake as just 11 points separate the top eight teams in the Western Conference. With 37 points through 23 games, Sounders FC ranks second in the West and third overall with 1.61 points per game. Seattle has played at least two fewer games than every conference opponent, including four fewer than Real Salt Lake and three fewer than Colorado. Eight of the 11 remaining games are against West opponents, including the final five games of the season.

Three Games in Eight Days Sounders FC will play three games in eight days, beginning at Columbus on August 31 followed by back-to-back home games against Chivas USA (September 4) and Chicago Fire (September 7). It will be the first time since May 5-11 - when Seattle earned seven of a possible nine points - that Sounders FC will play three league matches in an eight-day stretch. Seattle has had 10 such stretches in club history, going 15-7-8 and outscoring opponents 43-32. Seattle has scored at least one goal in 25 of those 30 games, including 13 multi-goal games while posting 10 shutouts.

Final Eastern Conference Road Trip of SeasonSeattle's visit to the Columbus Crew on Saturday will mark the final Eastern Conference road trip of the season. In the four previous cross-conference trips, Sounders FC has two wins (Kansas City and Toronto), one draw (Philadelphia) and one loss (Houston). Seattle has just five road trips remaining this season, including three in October. Overall, Seattle is 4-7-1 on the road this season, which is tied for the third-most road wins behind Real Salt Lake and Kansas City (five).

Saturday's match at Columbus is one of three remaining games against East opponents. Seattle will host Chicago on September 7 and New York on September 29. Overall, Sounders FC is 3-2-2 against the East this season, outscoring opponents 8-7. Seattle Wins another Season Series The win over Portland secured Seattle's sixth season series victory this season. Sounders FC has also won the series against Chivas USA, Dallas, D.C. United, Kansas City and Toronto FC. Seven series are yet to be decided, and Seattle tied the series against New England and Philadelphia and lost to Houston, Montreal, Salt Lake and San Jose.