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What’s at stake in Sounders’ regular-season finale

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Sounders can finish as high as first or as low as fourth in the West.

MLS: Seattle Sounders FC at LA Galaxy Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

Due to their tie against the LA Galaxy on Wednesday, the Seattle Sounders no longer control their own fate when it comes to seeding in the MLS Playoffs. Currently, the Sounders are third in the West and can finish as high as first or as low as fourth in the conference.

The biggest variable heading into Decision Day is not how many points the Sounders claim against the San Jose Earthquakes, it’s whether or not first-place Sporting KC even play. That’s because MLS decided to determine the final standings by points per game, meaning Sporting KC will clinch the top spot if their game against Real Salt Lake is called off due to positive Covid-19 tests on both teams.

Assuming Sporting KC plays, here are the various scenarios:

The Sounders will finish 1st if:

The Sounders will finish 2nd if:

  • The Sounders win AND
  • Either Portland or SKC win and the other draws or loses

OR

  • The Sounders draw AND
  • Portland loses

The Sounders will finish 3rd if:

  • The Sounders win AND
  • Both Portland and SKC win

OR

  • The Sounders draw AND
  • Portland wins or draws

OR

The Sounders will finish 4th if:

The good news is that the worst-case scenario would at least allow the Sounders to open the playoffs at home. While the value of home-field advantage is diminished from where it has been since 2014, it’s still worth .8 points more per game than playing on the road.

Who they’ll play is considerably more complicated, but one person worked out the odds of various matchups:

Interestingly, the Sounders have only played three of those teams this year. The Sounders went 2-1-0 against LAFC, are 1-0-2 against the Earthquakes and lost their only match against the Rapids.