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Sounders extend MLS record playoff streak to 12 seasons

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Only the Pittsburgh Penguins have a longer active streak in North American pro sports.

MLS: Seattle Sounders FC at Vancouver Whitecaps FC Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

The Seattle Sounders are heading back to the playoffs for a MLS record 12th consecutive season. The Sounders punched their ticket by beating the Vancouver Whitecaps on Tuesday in Portland. They also moved back into the lead for the Western Conference’s top seed, jumping Sporting KC.

Dating back to their 1994 USL rebirth, the Sounders have only missed the playoffs twice (2001 and 2006).

“It’s something that’s within the DNA, the culture of our club,” Sounders head coach Brian Schmetzer said following Tuesday’s match. “I reminded the players before the game about the great players that we’ve had at this club and asking them questions so that they can reflect on the job that they do.

“The reason this club has made it 12 years in a row is because the players always are committed to themselves, they’re committed to their teammates, they’re committed to the fans, and it’s that type of culture that can drive, that can be successful, that can win championships.”

Among North American pro sports leagues, only the NHL’s Pittsburgh Penguins (14) have an active streak that is longer. Liga MX’s Tigres UANL have also been to 12 straight postseasons, although their streak only goes back to 2014 as they participate in playoffs after both the Apertura and Clausura every year.

Although the Sounders have won two MLS Cups and been to a third final during their run, it’s notable that they are trying to grab the Western Conference’s No. 1 seed for just the second time in their history. The only time the Sounders had the top spot was in 2014 when they also won the Supporters’ Shield.

Longest active playoff streaks in North America

Team Consecutive postseasons Since League
Team Consecutive postseasons Since League
Penguins 15 2006-07 NHL
Tigres UANL 15* 2014 Liga MX
Sounders 13 2009 MLS
Lynx 11 2011 WNBA
Dodgers 9 2013 MLB
Trail Blazers 8 2014 NBA
Red Stars 5** 2015 NWSL
*Each year has two postseasons; ** No playoffs in 2020