Seattle Sounders FC finds itself just two points away from its first Supporters’ Shield with two games remaining in the MLS regular season.
The challenge is stiffened, however, because the Sounders must seek those points in road and home matches against the Los Angeles Galaxy, which like Seattle takes a league-topping 60 points into their Sunday meeting in Carson, California. Their regular seasons will conclude Oct. 25 at fully opened CenturyLink Field.
“If we win one game, then we win the Supporters’ Shield,” coach Sigi Schmid said. “It’s the Supporters’ Shield, but it’s also first place and seeding and being able to play the team that has to play the play-in game. That’s what’s at stake. L.A. wants the same thing, so they’re going to be two great games.”
The bar is lower for the Sounders because they hold the tie-breaker and could therefore get by with a pair of draws, whereas Los Angeles needs at least a win and a draw. That also means that Seattle could celebrate the Shield with a win on Sunday, while the Galaxy cannot.
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The situation would have been reversed, except Los Angeles gave up two second-half goals and suffered a 2-1 loss Sunday at Dallas.
“We’ve got two games left; we’ve got to win one,” Seattle captain Brad Evans said. “That’s it. … No matter who the opponent is, you’ve got to get a result anyway. The Galaxy is the second-best team right now — it’s a matter of fact — so we just have to go and do the business one of these weekends.”
The fact that things will be settled face to face just adds to the drama.
“I know the Supporters’ Shield has gone down to the last game a few times,” Schmid said. “That I know for sure, but I don’t know if necessarily the two teams that were competing for the Shield were actually playing against each other. I think that might be a little bit unusual. … That’s great for the fans, and I think it’s great for the players too. If you’re a player, these are the kinds of games you want to play in.”
Seattle starting forward Clint Dempsey and right back DeAndre Yedlin will be with the U.S. national team at 5 p.m. Tuesday when it takes on Honduras in a friendly match at Boca Raton, Florida.
Schmid said both players are expected back and ready in time to play at Los Angeles.
“It would be nice if they were here, sleeping in their own beds,” Schmid said. “That would make it a lot easier. … But it is what it is, so we wish them both well. I don’t know how many minutes DeAndre is going to play, or Clint is going to play on Tuesday. But we don’t play till Sunday, and I think they’re both fit and so they should be ready to go.”
FIFA’s recent certification that the FieldTurf at CenturyLink Field is up to professional standards does not change Sounders FC’s hope that the 3-year-old turf will be replaced before the start of next season. “We still feel as though the turf for soccer is ready to be changed,” general manager Adrian Hanauer said. “The FIFA rating is one more piece of data, one more piece of information that gets thrown into the conversation. But we will continue to communicate with the Seahawks, First & Goal, and we’re hopeful that we can still come to a conclusion that’s good for soccer.” … Sounders FC is holding a press conference Tuesday afternoon at Seattle Center to announce what it is calling “an unprecedented event regarding the future of the club.” No further details were available.