How decisive are you feeling? Are you ready to make some decisions? Saturday is Decision Day, so even if you're not ready, decisions will be made whether you like it or not. In truth, this is one of the least decisive Decision Days since MLS started the concept. The Supporters' Shield is locked up, first place in the Western Conference is already clinched, and just 28% (5 of 18) of the total playoff spots across both conferences are technically up for grabs. However, if you're a fan of the minutiae of MLS there's plenty for you to sink your teeth into.
The Seattle Sounders head into Saturday's match against St. Louis City with their playoff spot clinched, but their seeding up in the air. If you want an in-depth read on all of the finer points, please read what Jeremiah wrote here. Want a distilled version of your rooting interests for this weekend? You want the Sounders to win in St. Louis and you also want your pals north of the border, the Vancouver Whitecaps, to beat or draw with LAFC. That would mean the Sounders finish 2nd in the West. Pretty cool, right?
Fortunately for Seattle, they already have a decent blueprint on how to beat St. Louis as they won 3-0 in the first matchup of the season in April. Unfortunately for the Sounders, no team in MLS has beaten City twice this season. St. Louis' form has been pretty hit or miss the last two months, with them winning just two of their last seven matches since the beginning of September. They don't have much to actually play for in terms of tangible results, but if they beat the Sounders they will set the record for points for an MLS expansion team and potentially improve their chances of hosting MLS Cup.
The sample size is small, but Seattle has posted a 0-2-3 record in matches that occur after more than a week between matches. More recently, they were abject at home against Atlanta United following the Leagues Cup in August, but they looked pretty decent away to FC Dallas (a tie) Nashville SC (another tie) last month following bye weeks. Let's hope the more recent of those two performances is the one the Sounders learn the most from.
One key stat
56 – St. Louis City is currently on 56 points, tied for the second most by an expansion team. They need a tie to equal LAFC's 57-point 2018 season and can surpass them with a win.
The vibes around the Sounders right now are pretty good. Things can quickly change though, and I don't think any Sounders fan would be pleased to head into the playoffs off the back of a shelling in St. Louis and a No. 6 seed. With Seattle currently unbeaten in eight, they might as well make it nine to end the season, right? I imagine we'll feel pretty good leaving St. Louis with a win or a draw, so let's keep the good vibes rolling.
How close to full strength is everyone?
- The big question around Sounders training right now surrounds the health of Raúl Ruidíaz. Although he's back in training, I'd be surprised if he starts even if he's fully fit. Another thing to keep an eye on is the status of Nouhou. He isn't injured, but it sounds like he's had quite the international break and probably won't start as a result.
- St. Louis is also looking to be a full strength although Bradley Carnell has utilized a more purposeful lineup jiggering that makes it tougher to predict who will start.
Sounders (4-2-3-1): Frei; Baker-Whiting, Ragen, Yeimar, Roldan; Atencio, João Paulo; Chú, Rusnák, Roldan; Morris
St. Louis (4-4-2): Bürki; Markanich, Nilsson, Parker, Nerwinski; Blom, Löwen, Jackson, Vassilev; Adeniran, Klauss
What you need to know
Sounders record (3rd in the West): 13-9-11, +7 GD
St. Louis record (1st in the West): 17-11-5, +19 GD
Where: CITYPARK, St. Louis, Mo.
Kickoff time: 6:09pm Pacific Time
Commentators (AppleTV): Max Bretos and Brian Dunseth