There will be an additional open spot for the 2019 CONCACAF Champions League, it was announced on Monday. Despite a seemingly official announcement back in December that said New York City FC had qualified by virtue of finishing with the most points among U.S.-based teams, CONCACAF clarified that the spot that would have otherwise gone to the winner of the 2017 MLS Cup will instead go to the team with the most points accumulated during BOTH the 2017 and 2018 regular seasons. Toronto FC, like all Canadian teams, is not eligible to qualify through MLS competitions.
For the Seattle Sounders that means there are now three paths to the 2019 tournament instead of just two. As was already the case, the Sounders can qualify for that tournament by winning the 2018 MLS Cup or U.S. Open Cup.
Although there are currently five U.S.-based teams ahead of the Sounders in the cumulative standings, the gap is relatively small. NYCFC currently leads the Sounders by four points; the Chicago Fire and Atlanta United lead by two; and the Portland Timbers are ahead on a tiebreaker (one win). The next best U.S.-based teams (New York Red Bulls and Houston Dynamo) trail the Sounders by three points.