The Seattle Sounders clinched a spot in the 2021 MLS Playoffs with a 4-1 win over the Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday. They have now qualified for the playoffs every year since joining MLS in 2009, a 13-year streak that is not only the longest in league history but one of the longest active streaks in North American sports. The NHL’s Pittsburgh Penguins have qualified for the playoffs for 15 straight seasons. The San Antonio Spurs (22 seasons) and New England Patriots (11 seasons) had lengthy streaks snapped last year.
Longest active playoff streaks in North America
|Tigres UANL||15*||2014||Liga MX|
The only MLS teams with more total playoff appearances are the eight original teams who have been in operation during all 26 of the league’s seasons. The New York Red Bulls have the second-longest active streak (11) but are currently outside of playoff position. The next longest active playoff streak is New York City FC (5).
Of course, simply qualifying for the playoffs is considered the bare minimum for the Sounders. Not only have the Sounders qualified for the playoffs in every season, but they’ve never even finished below fourth in the Western Conference and seventh in the Supporters’ Shield standings. They’ve also qualified for the Western Conference semifinals every year and have won at least one playoff round in 8 of the past 9 seasons.
This year, the Sounders are currently on pace to finish atop the Western Conference for just the second time in their history and are still vaguely in the running for the Supporters’ Shield, although they currently trail the New England Revolution by 8 points with a game in hand and six left to play.