The Seattle Sounders’ home match against the Vancouver Whitecaps on Wednesday (7:30 p.m. PT; JOEtv, ROOT Sports outside Seattle, KIRO Radio 97.3 FM, El Rey 1360 AM | TICKETS) is arguably the biggest game of the season to date. Seattle enters just four points behind the Western Conference-leading Whitecaps as the regular season winds down.
With that in mind, here is what’s at stake on Wednesday:
While the Sounders cannot technically advance higher than fourth because of a would-be three-way tie for second place, there is the potential for a massive six-point swing. Win and pull within one point of first. Lose and fall seven points off first with just three matches remaining. If the Sounders can snap their five-match winless streak on Wednesday, a first-round playoff bye could very well be in the cards.
CASCADIA CUP STANDINGS
The Sounders enter Wednesday in second place in the Cascadia Cup table with six points from five matches. If they win, they would leapfrog the Portland Timbers for first place while eliminating Vancouver. If the Whitecaps win, they would have a chance to capture the Cascadia Cup on Decision Day against Portland. If the Sounders and Whitecaps tie, then the Timbers would be crowned Cascadia Cup champions.
Seattle has lost and drawn with Vancouver in two matches this year, both in Canada. The Sounders fell 2-1 in April before drawing 1-1 in August. The Sounders have only gone one season (2014) in MLS without beating Vancouver at least once.
A win Wednesday would propel Seattle into its final road trip of the season, a cross-country Eastern Conference tilt against the Philadelphia Union on Sunday. Three points on Wednesday would send the Sounders into Philly on the right note in the final match before the October FIFA international break.
The Sounders have still only lost once at home in the 14 months since Head Coach Brian Schmetzer took over. He sports a 16-1-7 mark and led Seattle to a 1-0 win over Vancouver at CenturyLink Field last September. The Sounders are hoping to reassert their home dominance ahead of what will likely be their ninth consecutive postseason appearance.
CLUB GOALSCORING RECORD
Forward Clint Dempsey remains just two goals shy of the Sounders’ all-time regular-season goalscoring record with 45. Coincidentally, the man whose record he’s trying to break will line up opposite him on Wednesday as Fredy Montero makes his long-awaited return to Seattle. The former Sounders great left MLS in 2012 before rejoining the league as a member of the Vancouver Whitecaps this year on a season-long loan from China’s Tianjin TEDA.