FanPost

The Sounders and the Various Paths to the 2022 CCL

As Insufferable Sounders, our expectation is to be playing for the MLS Cup at the end of the season. However, in those off years during which we fail to win the MLS Cup Final, basic participation in that match does not come with a Concacaf Champions League berth. We will, of course, win the 2022 MLS Cup. However, as an academic exercise, I will explore other routes by which our Mighty Sounders might qualify to play in CCL once again.

During our early years in MLS, we capitalized repeatedly on the US Open Cup route to CCL, leading us to both legendary victories and stinging defeats. We began a rivalry with Santos Laguna that has carried through to today and this year's Leagues Cup. However, in the age of COVID, the US Open Cup is not being held.

With no US Open Cup, the paths to CCL are as follows:

MLS Cup Champion. As in previous years, the MLS Cup Champion automatically qualifies for CCL *assuming* that winner is a US team. That's a pretty safe bet this season. Toronto is currently 18 points below the playoff line in the East. Vancouver is closer - just 3 points below the line with a game in hand on the teams blocking their way. With that said, Vancouver is a long shot at best. While the 'Caps are showing improvement, they will have to get past much better teams to get to the Cup match, including our Sounders. The MLS Cup Champion is likely to represent the United States in CCL, and Seattle is among the favorites to be that Champion.

MLS Supporters' Shield winner. Also per previous seasons' rules, the team with the best record in MLS wins both the Supporters' Shield and a spot in CCL. New England has utterly dominated the weaker Eastern Conference. The Revs have six games left including a beleaguered Miami and a sputtering Chicago Fire left on their schedule. They are currently FOURTEEN points up on the second place team in the Shield hunt. However, that team is the Seattle Sounders. Seattle has 3 games in hand on the Revs and, if we were to go on another Schmetz-tear AND they stumble, we could give them a run.

Both Conference Winners. One conference winner will, by definition, also be the Supporters' Shield winner. The winner of the other conference will also automatically qualify for CCL. If the season were frozen today, that team would be your Seattle Sounders. Seattle is atop the West. We're up three points on Colorado and up two points with a game in hand on Kansas City. We play Colorado twice (home and away) and KC once more (at home). Our fate is very much in our own hands.

The best record of all teams that haven't won their conference (or the MLS Cup). Currently, that team would be Kansas City, but Colorado is just a point back with a game in hand. If a team behind Seattle in the overall standings were to leapfrog the Sounders, but not two teams, Seattle would go to CCL based on the 3rd best MLS overall record.

Contingencies. These are the "what if" scenarios.
"What if" Vancouver wins MLS Cup.
"What if" The Shield winner wins the Cup too.
"What if" The other conference winner, who failed to win the Supporters' Shield, wins MLS Cup.
In any of these cases, a bid falls to the fourth best overall MLS finish. If we're talking about this in terms of the Rave Green, things have gone poorly...but not TOO poorly. CCL would still be on the table. Let's leave the scraps like this to lesser clubs.

There is still a lot of soccer (futbol/fussball/football/calcio) left to play. We are officially beyond "anything can happen". Toronto cannot win the Supporters' Shield, for example. However, I would go so far as to say that it's LIKELY that our Sounders will participate in the 2022 CCL. It is, in fact, still within the realm of possibility that the Seattle Sounders can earn a Concacaf Champions League berth after winning both the Supporters' Sheild and MLS Cup. This could happen.. So let's go Sounders! All the shiny things. Take 'em all!


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/* Copyright (c) 2016 Interaktiva rum Sverige (Interactive rooms Sweden) Website: http://www.interaktivarum.se/en Permission is hereby granted, free of charge, to any person obtaining a copy of this software and associated documentation files (the "Software"), to deal in the Software without restriction, including without limitation the rights to use, copy, modify, merge, publish, distribute, sublicense, and/or sell copies of the Software, and to permit persons to whom the Software is furnished to do so, subject to the following conditions: The above copyright notice and this permission notice shall be included in all copies or substantial portions of the Software. THE SOFTWARE IS PROVIDED "AS IS", WITHOUT WARRANTY OF ANY KIND, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO THE WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY, FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE AND NONINFRINGEMENT. IN NO EVENT SHALL THE AUTHORS OR COPYRIGHT HOLDERS BE LIABLE FOR ANY CLAIM, DAMAGES OR OTHER LIABILITY, WHETHER IN AN ACTION OF CONTRACT, TORT OR OTHERWISE, ARISING FROM, OUT OF OR IN CONNECTION WITH THE SOFTWARE OR THE USE OR OTHER DEALINGS IN THE SOFTWARE. */ /* The color filters are defined in external SVG file rgblind.svg, located in same folder as this CSS file. Use this CSS file when injecting both the CSS style rules and the SVG filters into the HTML document. */ .protanopia{ filter: url('#protanopia'); -webkit-filter: url('#protanopia'); color-interpolation-filters:sRGB; } .deuteranopia{ filter: url('#deuteranopia'); -webkit-filter: url('#deuteranopia'); color-interpolation-filters:sRGB; }

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