As of right now, any of the first five positions in the Western Conference is mathematically possible for the Sounders. But the top spot could move out of reach tonight if Real Salt Lake gets three points tonight out of its match vs. Chivas USA.
Our story in this morning's News Tribune looks at the Sounders' playoff qualification. And the notes below -- provided by the club -- include more information on the overall playoff picture:
MLS Cup Playoffs: Seeding ScrambleFour of the five playoff spots in the Western Conference were secured last weekend as the Portland Timbers, Real Salt Lake, LA Galaxy and Seattle Sounders FC clinched postseason berths. The Colorado Rapids are currently fifth in the West, and San Jose has not yet been mathematically eliminated. If the season ended today, Sounders FC would host the Colorado Rapids in the Knockout Round with the winner facing Portland in the conference semifinal. The other semifinal would pit Real Salt Lake against the LA Galaxy. In the East, New York and Kansas City are the only teams to clinch a berth in the playoffs. Five teams (Montreal, Chicago, New England, Houston and Philadelphia) are vying for the final three spots. Just three points separates third-place Montreal and seventh-place Philadelphia.
The top five teams in the West are currently separated by just three points, and with one game remaining seeding could change drastically by the end of the weekend. Sounders FC could finish in any of the top five spots, depending on other results.
Sounders FC vs. LA Galaxy ResultsWin - Seattle secures a top three seed, avoids Knockout Round and would host Colorado, Portland or Salt Lake in the Conference Semifinals (November 2 or 3).
Draw - Seattle finishes fourth or fifth and would play either Los Angeles or Colorado in the Knockout Round (October 30 or 31).
Loss - Seattle finishes fourth or fifth and would play Colorado in the Knockout Round (October 30 or 31).
Job One: Securing Top Three SeedSounders FC will look to secure a top three seed in the Western Conference with a win against the LA Galaxy on Sunday. A top three finish would put Seattle straight into the conference semifinal, avoiding the Knockout Round. Sounders FC could still finish as high as first in the West, which would guarantee home-field advantage through the Western Conference Championship.
There are currently two teams (New York and Kansas City) in the East with a higher point total than Sounders FC. A win or draw against the LA Galaxy on Sunday would give Sounders FC home-field advantage in the MLS Cup over every East team besides New York and Kansas City.
Five for Five: Sounders in Playoffs, AgainSounders FC has qualified for the MLS Cup Playoffs for five consecutive seasons, marking the second-longest postseason appearance streak to Real Salt Lake's six-straight trips. Seattle is one of three teams (LA Galaxy and Real Salt Lake) to qualify for the playoffs every season since 2009. Sounders FC is also nearing the record for the most consecutive postseason appearances by an expansion team. The Chicago Fire qualified for the playoffs each of its first six seasons (1998-2003).
MLS Cup Playoffs Format NotesTen clubs will qualify for the MLS Cup Playoffs - the top five in points from each conference at the end of the regular season.
Knockout Round - Single match elimination between No. 4 and No. 5 seeds at home venue of No. 4 seed on October 30 or 31. Winner advances to the Conference Semifinals to face top seed.
Conference Semifinals - Two-game, aggregate-goal series to be played between No. 1 seed/Knockout Round winner and No. 2 seed/No. 3 seed. First leg is hosted by the lower seed with the second leg at the higher seed's home venue. First leg begins November 2 or 3 with the second leg on November 6 or 7. Winners advance to Conference Championship.
Conference Championship - Two-game, aggregate-goal series to be played between Conference Semifinals winners. First leg is hosted by the lower seed with the second leg at the higher seed's home venue. First leg begins November 9 or 10 with the second leg on November 23 or 24. Winner advances to MLS Cup.
MLS Cup - Single match championship played between the Western Conference and Eastern Conference champions. The match will be played at the home venue of the team with the higher regular season point total on December 7.
*If the score is tied after 90 minutes of play in the Knockout Round, second leg of Conference Semifinals or Conference Championship, or MLS Cup, two 15-minute extra time periods will be played in their entirety, followed by kicks from the penalty mark, if necessary.
Team Standings Tiebreaking ProceduresWhen two or more teams are tied in the standings on points, the following tiebreakers will be used in the sequence below, until one team ranks ahead of the other(s): 1. Most Wins2. Goals For 3. Goal Differential 4. Fewest Disciplinary Points5. Road Goals6. Road Goal Differential7. Home Goals8. Home Goal Differential9. Coin Toss (2 teams) or Drawing of Lots (3 or more)