The Sounders return to training today, preparing for their regular-season-ending match against Los Angeles on Sunday.
The Sounders are closing the entire week of work to the media, except for the final 15 minutes. (That is very unusual. Typically, early-week training sessions are fully open, with media kept out only on the final session or two before the game.) However, we will get normal interview access afterward. I'll be back around noon with notes and quotes from that.
Until then, these notes from the club:
Playoff-bound for the fifth consecutive season, Seattle Sounders FC readies for the regular season finale against the two-time defending MLS Cup champions LA Galaxy on Sunday night. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m. PT on the Xbox Pitch at CenturyLink Field. Sunday's match will be nationally broadcast on ESPN with Adrian Healey, Taylor Twellman and Alexi Lalas calling the action. The match can also be heard on 97.3 FM with Ross Fletcher and Kasey Keller on the call.
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Sounders FC (15-12-6, 51 points) sits fourth in the Western Conference, just three points behind leaders Real Salt Lake. Seattle clinched its fifth consecutive postseason berth on Sunday, becoming one of just three teams to reach the playoffs every season since 2009.
Amidst a four-game losing streak, Sounders FC returns to CenturyLink Field where it has the opportunity to post the best home record in club history. Seattle needs one more home point to set the top mark, which would rank second in MLS this season.
A win against the LA Galaxy on Sunday would secure a top three seed for Seattle, placing the club into the Western Conference Semifinal and avoiding the Knockout Round. A loss or draw would place Seattle in the Knockout Round as the fourth or fifth seed.
Sunday's match will be played in front a raucous crowd at CenturyLink Field. With over 64,000 expected in attendance, Sounders FC will set a the MLS season attendance record for the fifth consecutive season. The match also marks the second time in two months that Seattle will host a crowd of over 60,000 for a regular season MLS match.
Riding a three-game unbeaten streak, the LA Galaxy (15-11-7, 52 points) are currently third in the West and will visit CenturyLink Field for the first time this season. Sounders FC battled to a 1-1 road draw in the previous meeting after dropping the first meeting of the season.
The Galaxy will visit El Salvador's Metapan for the final group game of the CONCACAF Champions League on Thursday. Los Angeles won the previous three matches and have already clinched advancement to the tournament's knockout stage.
The MLS Cup Playoffs begin on Wednesday, October 30, with the Knockout Round matches. Sounders FC will know its opponent, date and time of its first playoff game following Sunday's match.