MIB Clinched

SCENARIOS: How the Seattle Sounders can advance as the No. 2 or No. 3 seed in Group B at the MLS is Back Tournament

The Seattle Sounders played their third and final match in Group B at the MLS is Back Tournament on Sunday night, earning a commanding 3-0 victory over Vancouver Whitecaps in Orlando, Fla.

With four points through three games, Seattle is guaranteed a spot in the next phase of the competition. However, they’ll have to wait for the rest of the tournament’s group stage to wrap up before they can know their opponent for the knockout rounds.

Due to the pre-tournament schedule realignment, the Sounders and San Jose Earthquakes have completed their group games on Sunday evening, while the final fixture of Group B between Vancouver and Chicago won’t come until Thursday, July 23.

San Jose’s wins over the Whitecaps and Fire, coupled with Seattle’s victory against Vancouver, provided some insight on the pathway to the knockout rounds for Sounders FC. With several games still on the docket, the permutations of how the Rave Green will advance are a bit convoluted.

Essentially, Seattle had to win against the Whitecaps and, if certain results go their way, will finish second in the group, giving them an automatic berth for the next stage of the tournament. However, a Chicago victory on the final matchday would see the Rave Green progress as one of the four best third-place teams at the tournament.

UPDATE (7/18): Due to recent results in other matches, the Sounders are guaranteed advancement with a win against Vancouver. Group A has two teams with two losses, while Group E has one team with two losses and two teams with three points (RBNY and CIN). Since RBNY and CIN both have negative goal differential, which is the tiebreaker after points, a win for Seattle would automatically place the Rave Green ahead of third-place finishers in two groups. See below for a more detailed breakdown on how the Sounders can finish in their group.  

UPDATE (7/19): Following Chicago’s loss to San Jose and the Sounders’ victory over the Whitecaps, the Rave Green have booked a place in the knockout rounds at the MLS is Back Tournament. The scenarios below breakdown how Seattle could finish as the No. 2 or No. 3 seed out of Group B with a win over Vancouver.


Scenario 1: The Fire lose their remaining match against the Whitecaps, the Sounders would advance as the No. 2 seed, with Chicago and Vancouver vying for the third spot in Group B.

  • SJ (7 points)
  • SEA (4 points)
  • CHI (3 points)
  • VAN (3 points)

Scenario 2: Chicago settles for a draw with the Whitecaps on the final matchday. Seattle would finish ahead of the Fire on goal difference, which is the first tiebreaker at the tournament.

  • SJ (7 points)
  • SEA (4 points)
  • CHI (4 points)
  • VAN (1 points)

The remaining scenario would see Seattle finish third in Group B. If the Sounders take the third spot, they will automatically qualify due to the results in Group A and Group E.

Scenario 3: The Fire defeat the Whitecaps in their third and final match of the group stage. Seattle would finish in third, sending the Rave Green through to the knockout rounds as one of four best third-placed teams.

  • SJ (7 points)
  • CHI (6 points)
  • SEA (4 points)
  • VAN (0 points)
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