As the Sounders prepare for an 11th consecutive appearance in the postseason, they’re competing for more than just the MLS Cup trophy.
If the Rave Green manage to win MLS Cup for the second time in four years, they will automatically qualify for the Concacaf Champions League, a regional tournament that features the top club sides from North America, Central America and the Caribbean.
While the objective is certainly to secure a CCL berth by winning the league trophy, there are several scenarios in which they could fall short of the Cup but still advance to the regional tournament.
Atlanta United (U.S. Open Cup), LAFC (Supporters’ Shield) and New York City FC (Eastern Conference Champions) have already qualified for the 2020 edition of Concacaf Champions League. If any of those three teams win MLS Cup, then the Sounders would also qualify for CCL, as they have the highest points total of any of the teams that did not secure automatic qualification. Additionally, if Toronto FC wins MLS Cup, then Seattle qualifies for CCL because a Canadian team cannot qualify for CCL by winning MLS Cup.
If any other teams manage to win MLS Cup, then the Sounders would qualify for the 2019 League’s Cup, which pits the top teams not in CCL from MLS and Liga MX against each other in a knockout tournament.
Since the Sounders joined MLS back in 2009, the club has qualified for CCL on five occasions, where they’ve gone toe-to-toe with some of the premier clubs in Mexico’s Liga MX. Memorable matchups include Seattle’s 1-0 win over Chivas de Guadalajara at CenturyLink Field in March 2018, and Djimi Traore’s screamer of a volley in a 3-1 win over against Tigres UANL in 2013.