Two more teams qualified for the 2024 Concacaf Champions Cup over the weekend. Former Sounders forward Pat Noonan and FC Cincinnati can no longer finish outside of CCC 2024 qualification, even if they lose out they can be no worse than third in the Shield.
Former Defiance player Jesse Daley and Cavalry FC up in the Canadian Premier League won the CPL Shield with two matches left in their season. They are the first CPL team to qualify directly for the highest level of Concacaf club competition.
When Daley returned to North America, part of his goal was to qualify for international competition. Now, he will do so, in a first round that could feature matches against MLS sides. Daley has 1,685 minutes in 19 starts and 3 sub appearances. Jesse is tied for the team lead with 4 assists.
Costa Rica looks to have a strong presence in the 2024 CCC. Four of their teams are in the Central American Cup quarterfinals that begin this week. They are assured of at least two qualifiers to the CCC with a potential for all four advancing. No other Central American nation has two teams remaining.
In the Caribbean, the Dominican Republic has three teams that could make the semifinals and Jamaica has two remaining in the Group Stage. In 10 days the Caribbean semis will be known with the two finalists going to the CCC.
As the CCC fills out half of its qualifiers the few months left for the Sounders to again qualify and unseat D.C. United as the MLS side with the most matches played in Concacaf Champions League/Cup they have two paths remaining – win the West in the regular season or win MLS Cup.
A few weeks ago both of those seemed far fetched for the Sounders, but a five-match unbeaten run sets them up to possibly unseat St. Louis. Plus, in the West there’s no favorite in the playoffs. Every team has had long stretches of mediocrity with short spikes of greatness. Can they do enough to match the qualification of their former players? That’s up to them and the faltering Western Conference.
Puget Sound Soccer
Defiance dominate while the top flight teams struggle
Defiance closed their season with a shootout win.
After the 3-3 (5-4) win Wade Webber will now get to pick his first-round opponent. Tuesday we'll find out which of St. Louis, San Jose and Houston the Sounders org feels they should play against in the first round. This new quirk to the Next Pro playoffs is in place for the first time. If they advance to the second round Defiance will have the second pick after Colorado Rapids 2 who have the nO. 1 seed.
Sounders face tough road test Saturday.
If Seattle are going to catch St. Louis and qualify for the CCC they will almost certainly need to beat Nashville at Nashville (5:30 pm PT / MLS Season Pass). The Sounders are 8 points behind St. Louis City and play the Missouri side in the final match of the season. Seattle will play three games before than while St. Louis will play two.
Neither side play LAFC, who are tied with the Sounders on points and number of remaining games.
Reign host North Carolina Sunday.
Their penultimate home game with Megan Rapinoe OL Reign will be on Paramount+ (Sunday at 5 pm PT) against North Carolina Courage, who sit one above Reign in the standings. The final three matches could push Reign as high as the Shield or out of the playoffs (no team has been eliminated from contention yet).
Could Sounders move to Renton?
We already know the Sounders will be opening their new training facility early next year, but Hugh Weber confirmed they will also explore the possibility of moving their entire operation to Longacres.
Clint Dempsey doing more CBS work;
CBS Golazo Network is launching a new talk show. Featuring Kate Abdo, Maurice Edu, Charlie Davies and former Sounder Clint Dempsey, Kickin' It will be the foursome talking soccer with notables from the game. In the interview with the Seattle Times we also learn that Clint just needed time away from the spotlight after the heart conditions forced an earlier-than-desired retirement and that his six kids probably means he's not going to be working full time.
- 14 Washington State beers recognized at Great American Beer Fest.