With three points on Sunday, the Sounders would secure a Knockout Round bye for the 2017 Audi MLS Cup Playoffs. It would also be a fitting conclusion to the most successful regular-season home campaign in club history.
“Our defense has been pretty good at home,” midfielder Cristian Roldan told media on Friday after training. “We commit a lot of guys forward at home, and judging by how many goals we’ve scored, I think our defense has been pretty solid. Going into the playoffs, that’s what we need to continue to do.”
In 2017, the Sounders have recorded a 10-1-5 mark at CenturyLink Field, with the lone loss coming in a 1-0 defeat to Supporters’ Shield-winning Toronto FC, who scored on a penalty by Jozy Altidore. Otherwise, the Rave Green have made their home an absolute fortress.
The Sounders enter Sunday’s match with the second-longest home unbeaten streak in club history, trailing the 14-contest stretch from 2013 by just two results. Seattle recorded a 12-4-1 mark during the 2014 regular season at CenturyLink Field, in addition to 11 wins in 2012 and 2015, respectively.
A win or a draw on Sunday would give Seattle a record-low home loss in 2017. Meanwhile, the club’s 29 home goals are just three shy of the 32 tallies from 2011. The 32 assists in 2017 has already set a single-season home record, while the Rave Green’s 14 cautions are four fewer than the previous mark.
All in all, three points on Sunday means home-field advantage and an early bye in the postseason. Perhaps more than ever, the squad is determined to make sure that happens.
“We are very fortunate to be already in the playoffs, but we have to put ourselves in a good position,” Roldan said.
After the Knockout Round, the next two conference bouts feature both a home and road match, and the Sounders will look to main consistency.
“Our identity is a team that never gets up and plays to win, Head Coach Brian Schmetzer said. “We aren’t going somewhere to get a draw. We are a team of talented players.”