The Seattle Sounders picked up four points in their final two home games this week thanks to a late winner against the LA Galaxy and a 0-0 draw with the Vancouver Whitecaps. Here are the five things we learned this week.
Saturday night's scoreless draw with Vancouver could very well be Nico Lodeiro's final regular-season home game for the Seattle Sounder. That's a reality that will take awhile to set in, but it is what it is.
When asked about it after the game, Sounders head coach Brian Schmetzer said, "He’s out of contract. Tonight was an emotional night. But come playoff time he’s going to be ready and so will the team." That sure doesn't sound like a player that is going to come back, but I suppose anything can happen.
Cristian Roldan. That's it.
It is actually crazy how much better the Sounders are when C. Roldan plays compared to when he doesn't. It's often easy to oversimply a team's woes when things are going poorly, but when the Sounders were bad this summer it was just so obvious they had a Roldan-sized hole in their team. Now he's back and they're playing better. Imagine that.
Of course, Cristian scored the late winner on Wednesday night, but that's not all he brings. The team is so much better in and out of possession when he plays.
The Sounders picked up their 13th shutout of the season on Saturday night, which ties their franchise record from 2017. Nine of those shutouts happened at Lumen Field. Beyond that, Seattle only allowed 11 goals at home all season. Per Jeremiah Oshan (you may have heard of him), only Nashville has allowed fewer goals this season at home (10), and they have two matches remaining at Geodis Park. The Sounders' .647 goals allowed per home game is also their lowest ever in 15 MLS seasons.
Getting good at the right time
Don't look now, but things are getting good at the right time for the Sounders. They'll head into the final game of the season likely needing a result to ensure home-field advantage in the first round, but they're also quietly unbeaten in eight. With how good the defense is playing and with how wide open the Western Conference is, I'd put Seattle's chances up their with anyone's.
The long (one season) regional nightmare is over. The Sounders punched their playoff ticket on Wednesday night thanks to the aforementioned C. Roldan goal. It turns out that they would've qualified anyways on Wednesday given other results around the league, but it is important they did it themselves. Last season really sucked, you know, missing the playoffs for the first time. Let's never do that again, shall we?
Now is not really the time to be rational. You have permission to believe that special things can happen and there's no better club in MLS at creating special moments. Are the Sounders the best team? No. They aren't. Does that really matter? Nope! It doesn't! These are the last couple of months with this squad. There will be significant turnover in the offseason. Why not send them off with a trophy? I think it would be really cool.