Seattle Sounders FC can clinch a spot in the MLS playoffs Saturday without worrying about help from anyone else.
The Sounders would become mathematically assured of a spot in the postseason by defeating Kansas City in their 5:30 p.m. Saturday match at CommunityAmerica Ballpark.
“It’s nice to be in control of your own destiny,” coach Sigi Schmid said after his team finished a long training session Monday. “You don’t have to hope that we will win and they will lose and they will lose, which is sort of what Kansas City has: They have to win, and other teams have to lose. It’s always a lot better to be in the position that we are in: ‘Let’s just win, and we are there.’ The only scoreboard we need to watch is our own scoreboard.”
The Sounders (10-7-11) have 41 points, five points clear of D.C. United, FC Dallas and Toronto FC – who are tied for ninth in a league where the top eight teams advance. If Seattle adds three points, that total of 44 points would be beyond the reach of any of those three – who each have two matches remaining – or of Real Salt Lake, which has 34 points with three matches left.
Meanwhile, Kansas City (8-12-8) is six points behind eighth-place New England. The Wizards will be eliminated from the playoffs with anything but a victory.
Because Kansas City can’t settle for a draw, Schmid said he expects the Wizards to play aggressively.
And while Seattle’s playoff hopes could survive a draw – or even a loss – the Sounders would like to assure their playoff spot before returning home for their regular-season finale Oct. 24 against FC Dallas.
“Three points is what we are shooting for,” Schmid said. “If we are going to go back there, if we are going to fly all that way, we might as well just bring back all three.”
The Sounders are trying to become the first MLS expansion team to qualify for the playoffs in their first season since Chicago and Miami did it in 1998.
A controversy erupted in Columbus last week after the Sounders’ 1-0 victory at Crew Stadium.
Some Crew players and media there claimed that Guillermo Barros Schelotto missed what would have been a tying penalty kick after Seattle defender Tyrone Marshall used his shoe studs to create a small crater on the penalty spot.
Asked about it Monday, Marshall denied responsibility for the missed kick without directly denying responsibility for the crater.
“Aw, come on,” he said. “The guy put the ball behind the penalty spot. I can’t go up there and kick it for him. You can do whatever you want to do, but it’s just one of those things where luck was on our side that night. They hit the post, I kicked one off the line, everything that could go our way went our way. Someone was watching from above. It had nothing to do with me.
“Any other day he would probably put that in the top of the net. He’s not a player that misses penalty kicks. They can use all the excuses they want. If they want to say that was me, then fine.”
Don Ruiz, 253-597-8808