Well, actually, the West was won yesterday by the Galaxy, but today everything is completely settled. Houston's 3-2 victory over Chivas gives them second and puts us into third. The truth is that today's result couldn't ever have changed much in terms of our playoff picture. The main difference is our home match will be first and then we'll play away in the second leg. Whether we play in LA or Seattle in the second round will depend entirely on which of the SoCal teams comes through the first round.
As for last night's game, Dave has already posted some first thoughts and it sounds like he has some interesting news yet to come as well. For my part, I was extremely frustrated by the lack of concentration that gave Dallas the lead in the first half and the appalling finishing which made it look like we were in for another depressing night at Qwest. Thankfully, the Sounders seem to have developed the ability to take control of matches under adverse circumstances and were finally able to make all that attacking pay.
Individually, our guys displayed a lot of the things that we both love and hate about them. Jaqua seems to be growing as a presence. Sigi has finally abandoned the idea of Jaqua as a target man, and it's allowing Jaqua to play more effectively. He's actually begun to win the headers that everyone expects a 6' 4" player to win and his good positional sense was on display again as he put himself in the right place for Montero's centering ball on the equalizer. His first touch is still nothing to write home about and he still gives up the ball much too often. Zakuani is still a nightmare for opposing backs and combined really well with Ljungberg. At the same time, opposing goalkeepers can sigh in relief when they see Steve step up to crack a shot.
In the grander scheme of things, yesterday's and today's results were just the finishing touches on what has been an amazing regular season for the Sounders. At the beginning, everyone involved with the team set making the playoffs as the big goal for the club. That ticket got punched last week in dramatic fashion and this week was about asserting ourselves and getting the "no goals at Qwest" monkey off our backs. Check and check.
We'll be hearing soon about the details of the first round, and we'll soon see if we're up to task of bringing home a double in our first year, just like the Chicago Fire did in 1998. If we do, then we've made a strong case for the title of best MLS expansion team ever. But that's a debate that will be fun to have if the Sounders can take it all the way. For now, the Sounders Nation can enjoy the success that has been achieved so far, and look forward to the coming playoff campaign.