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The Path of Glory

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The end of the season draws near, and now it looks like the only path to the playoffs for Seattle is over the Timbers' remains.

Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

The last couple of months have been difficult ones for Sounders fans. We have, by necessity, become focused on the question of whether Seattle will be able to hold onto - or get back into - a playoff spot. And now as the end of the season draws near the clouded nature of that task is becoming clearer - the probability functions are collapsing. And it's become increasingly certain that if Seattle is to make the postseason, it will be at the expense of the Portland Timbers.

The fight for the last scraps of playoff position in the Western Conference has become a mad brawl and no team is backing down. San Jose has become unstoppable, winning four games in a row. And now a ridiculous six of their final eight games are at home. Our simulation gives them the easiest remaining schedule in the league. Dallas and KC seem tantalizingly close, but at 5 and 6 points ahead and a game in hand on the Sounders, in reality they are nearly out of reach.

No, only one team is likely within striking distance of Seattle, and of course it's Portland. A win today and the Sounders are only two points back of the Timbers with the same number of games played. And if we lose today and Portland gets three road points, it may be the end. That's our road.

If they don't make the playoffs, this will go down as easily the worst season for Seattle in the MLS era. If they do make it, by tearing down their oldest rivals and taking their place, and moving on to playoff glory, it could easily be the best season in the history of the team.

That's what's on the line today at CenturyLink Field. Time is running out - we have 90 minutes to choose glory or ruin.