Difficult stretch run to provide good opportunities for Sounders

Difficult stretch run to provide good opportunities for Sounders

The last five matches of the regular season should provide a number of challenges for the Sounders.

Sounders FC @ Colorado Rapids
October 5, 2013, 7 pm PT; Dick’s Sporting Goods Park
TV/Radio: NBC Sports; 97.3 FM; La Gran D 99.3 FM (Spanish)

With just five matches remaining on the calendar and visions of hoisting the Supporters’ Shield, Sounders FC has a long way to go in the month of October. Seattle has five matches on the schedule and each match comes against an opponent that will be fighting tooth and nail for playoff positioning and to get into the postseason.

As the MLS regular season nears its end, each match carries a greater importance and it is no different for Seattle, who is looking for its first regular season title.

”We all need points. Everybody needs points at this point in the season. We want to make sure we secure the best position we can secure,” Sounders FC Head Coach Sigi Schmid said. “They’re all going to be exciting, hard-fought battles that are going to have a playoff intensity to them.”

The whirlwind month starts on Saturday against the Colorado Rapids at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. Colorado is fifth in the West at 12-9-9 (45 points), just one point ahead of the sixth-place San Jose Earthquakes and even with the LA Galaxy. Sounders FC is unbeaten in the last eight matches against Colorado at 7-0-1, including a 1-0-1 record this season.

Next, Sounders FC returns to CenturyLink Field on Wednesday to face the Vancouver Whitecaps FC, who sit seventh at 11-11-8 (41 points), four points out of a playoff spot and desperate for points to get back into that postseason picture. Seattle is 1-1-0 against Vancouver this season, with both teams winning their home matches.

A busy week finishes on October 13 against the Portland Timbers at JELD-WEN Field. The Timbers rank third in the West at 12-5-13 (49 points), a mere two points behind conference-leading Real Salt Lake (15-10-6, 51 points) and Seattle (15-8-6, 51 points). Seattle went 1-0-1 at CenturyLink Field in two matches against Portland this season.

On October 19, Sounders FC plays its last road match against FC Dallas at Toyota Stadium. By then, Dallas may slip out of the postseason picture, but right now remain alive at 10-10-10 (40 points), this after a red-hot start that saw Dallas atop the Western Conference standings at 8-2-4 through June 1. Seattle won both meetings at CenturyLink Field, 4-2 on May 18 and 3-0 on August 3.

In the regular season finale, Seattle will host the LA Galaxy in a rematch of last year’s Western Conference semifinals. The Galaxy is fourth in the West at 13-9-6 (45 points). Seattle went 0-1-1 against the Galaxy in two matches at the StubHub Center in May and September.

“The last five games will be tough games. We want to win the Supporters’ Shield and to make that happen we have to win the games,” midfielder Osvaldo Alonso said. “We will fight for the rest of the games we have to get the three points so we can win the Supporters’ Shield for our fans. After that, we’ll fight in the playoffs for the MLS Cup.”

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