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Sounders training notebook: Focused on finishing strong

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Sounders welcome the pressure of facing a virtual must-win game in regular season-finale.

Max Aquino / Sounder at Heart

TUKWILA, Wash. — Two days before their regular-season finale, the Seattle Sounders are clearly focused on finishing the season on as high of a note as possible. Despite going 0-3-2 in their last five — tied for their longest winless run since 2013 — the Sounders still control their own destiny in the Western Conference.

If they beat the Vancouver Whitecaps on Sunday, they’ll not only clinch a first-round bye and home-field advantage through the conference finals, but will also secure a Concacaf Champions League spot. Anything less than a win will mean the Sounders need both Sporting KC (home against Real Salt Lake) and the Colorado Rapids (home against LAFC) to drop points to maintain their spot and would drop to third if both win.

While not ideal for fans’ blood-pressure, having such an important game right before the playoffs might be good.

“I think everyone wants this pressure,” Sounders midfielder Kelyn Rowe said following Friday’s session. “This is the kind of pressure when you’re in your backyard, counting down 3, 2, 1 that’s what this is about. We want to make sure that we come out with first place in the West whatever it takes to get there.”

Notes

  • It’s not yet clear how close to full-strength the Sounders will be for that game. Like they were a day earlier, Raúl Ruidíaz (hamstring) and João Paulo (unknown) were limited in training. Head coach Brian Schmetzer has said both are effectively day-to-day and likely to be game-time decisions. Jimmy Medranda (hamstring) appeared to be more limited and is probably less likely to feature.
  • Danny Leyva was named to the United States U20 team for the upcoming Revelations Cup in Mexico from Nov. 7-17. Brazil, Mexico and Colombia will also be competing.