Sounders FC has one match remaining on the regular season schedule and it’s a big one against the LA Galaxy at CenturyLink Field on October 27.
As of Sunday morning, Seattle was relying on a loss or draw by the San Jose Earthquakes in one of their final two matches to clinch the club’s fifth consecutive playoff berth, but to Brad Evans and the rest of the Sounders, their own match against the Galaxy next week matters much more than any results the Earthquakes have.
“It’s our MLS Cup next weekend,” Evans said after Seattle fell 2-0 to FC Dallas on Saturday. “The reality is that next week could be our last game. We have to approach it like it’s a championship game. That’s the bottom line. We have to win next week.”
Seattle has had several “if only” moments throughout its current drought, whether it be a shot that skips just wide of the goal, a shot off the crossbar, or a deflected ball that lands right at the feet of an opponent in front of an open net.
That does not excuse the results, but goes to show just how close the margin for error has been along the way.
“We’re close. We’ve just got to keep working and plugging away to get that result,” Evans said. “It’s just little things that are changing games. Inches here and there. Now it’s up to us to regroup and we’ve just got to fight like hell next weekend.”
Seattle played on Saturday without four regular starters and could have all four back against the Galaxy. Osvaldo Alonso will be back after serving a red card suspension on Saturday and injured forwards Eddie Johnson and Obafemi Martins and defender Djimi Traore are all possibilities to make returns.
That makes for two of Seattle’s top scorers in Johnson (nine goals) and Martins (eight goals), as well as an MLS Best XI midfielder in Alonso.
“If we have everybody healthy at the right time, I think we’re unstoppable. But it’s about getting everybody on the field at the same time,” Evans said. “Maybe next week is the perfect storm.”
All reasoning aside, the facts remain that Seattle needs results and if San Jose is able to win both matches remaining on the schedule, that heaps even more pressure on Sounders FC next week.
“There are a lot of things we can point to, but at the end of the day, we have to figure it out as a coaching staff and get things done on the field,” Sounders FC Head Coach Sigi Schmid said.
Kickoff for next week’s match is scheduled for 6 pm Pacific with national television coverage on ESPN.