Final Stretch: Making a Push

Sounders FC prepares to make their final push toward a fourth consecutive MLS Cup Playoffs appearance.

With just 10 games remaining in the 2012 Major League Soccer regular season, Sounders FC prepares to make its push for a fourth straight MLS Cup Playoffs appearance. And if history has shown us anything, Seattle should close out the season in impressive fashion.

Since entering the league in 2009, no team has a better record from July 1 to the end of the regular season than Seattle. Overall, the Rave Green has posted a 30-11-11 record for a winning percentage of 68-percent. In comparison, Seattle’s winning percentage is 55-percent in the first half of the season. 

Only one other team has posted a winning percentage of over 60-percent in the second-half of the past four seasons. The LA Galaxy’s record of 32-14-9 (.663 winning percentage) ranks just two percentage points behind Seattle. FC Dallas concludes the top three with a 27-18-15 record (.575).

Seattle has gone on a tear the past two seasons after July 1, winning 10 of the final 15 matches both seasons and posting a higher point total each year. And, this season, the stage is set for yet another strong push. 

Sounders FC has posted the second-best record in the second half of the 2012 campaign, continuing the trend from the past three seasons. Seattle is 4-1-2 since hitting the midway mark in late-June for an average of two points per game. The only other club averaging more points per game is Houston at 2.29 (5-1-1 record since the midway point). Western Conference foe LA Galaxy sits just behind Seattle with an average of 1.89 points per game (5-2-2 record). 

Along with securing more points, Sounders FC has picked up the scoring, as well, netting nearly two goals per game in the past seven outings, falling just short of the output from Houston (2.14 goals per game) and LA Galaxy (2.11). 

The Rave Green defense has remained strong as one of the league’s stingiest groups, allowing just six goals in the seven-game stretch. Only Houston, Kansas City and Columbus have allowed fewer goals (five). 

Not only has Seattle performed well since hitting the midway mark, but the club has gotten some help with favorable results around the league. After last weekend’s Cascadia Cup win over Vancouver, Sounders FC sat back and watched as the rest of the weekend’s results fell their way. Out of the four other teams currently occupying a Western Conference playoff spot, none earned a point last weekend as San Jose, Real Salt Lake and Vancouver lost and the Galaxy had a bye week. 

With the results, Seattle moved into sole possession of third in the West and is just two points behind second-place RSL. Sounders FC will have the opportunity to make up that ground and possibly challenge for the Supporters’ Shield as the team has the most remaining games out of the West playoff teams, and only one East playoff team (DC United) has more games in hand. 

Seattle will also be able to gain ground with four head-to-head meetings against West playoff teams (San Jose, Vancouver, Real Salt Lake and LA Galaxy). So far this season, Seattle has posted a 5-3-5 record against teams in playoff positions.

Record in Second Half of 2012 MLS Regular Season

A breakdown of records in the second half of the 2012 MLS regular season

Team GP Record Points (PPG) Goals For/Goals Against
Houston Dynamo 7 4-1-2 14 (2.00) 13/6
Seattle Sounders FC 7 4-1-2 14 (2.00) 13/6
LA Galaxy 9 5-2-2 17 (1.89) 19/13
Chicago Fire 7 4-2-1 13 (1.86) 9/7
FC Dallas 10 5-2-3 18 (1.80) 17/9
Montreal Impact 10 6-4-0 18 (1.80) 15/15
Sporting Kansas City 8 4-2-2 14 (1.75) 8/5
DC United 6 2-3-1 7 (1.67) 6/8
New York Red Bulls 8 4-3-1 13 (1.63) 11/11
Columbus Crew 5 2-1-2 8 (1.60) 6/5
Toronto FC 7 3-3-1 10 (1.43) 9/10
Chivas USA 5 2-2-1 7 (1.40) 4/8
San Jose Earthquakes 8 3-3-2 11 (1.38) 13/10
Real Salt Lake 9 3-5-1 10 (1.11) 9/13
Vancouver Whitecaps FC 9 2-5-2 8 (0.89) 9/14
Philadelphia Union 5 1-3-1 4 (0.80) 4/9
Colorado Rapids 7 1-6-0 3 (0.43) 8/14
Portland Timbers 7 0-5-2 2 (0.29) 8/18
New England Revolution 7 0-6-1 1 (0.14) 3/9
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