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Ship's Log, May 3: The awful West

No, Seattle isn't going to win the Shield. But they have a reasonable shot at being above the playoff line soon.

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3 min read
Sounders head coach Brian Schmetzer giving a thumbs-up to traveling supporters after a win in Philadelphia
© Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Waaaay back before the rash of injuries, the inability to convert chances to goals and the absurd defensive lapses, the Seattle Sounders were picked to contend for the Western Conference title, possibly even the Shield.

Then they had their worst start in their first nine matches, ever.

Everyone started to write Seattle off – which makes sense. They looked old, out-of-tune, static and still injured.

A funny thing happened. The Sounders played their best half of soccer as they flowed downhill overwhelming the Philadelphia Union, an Eastern Conference giant for the past several seasons.

Now, the Seattle Sounders are a win and three reasonable road losses away from a playoff spot. The West isn't quite as bad as predicted, but it's not good outside of the top four (which doesn't include LAFC at this time, but could by the end of the year).

No, seriously. The West is bad enough that if the Sounders win their next two matches and get a little help they could be as high as fifth.

Sure, things aren't fixed in Sounders-ville. They won't be for a while. But they're better and getting healthier. A not-impossible surge during the continuation of this 11 games in 36 days (because yes, Seattle should advance in the US Open Cup) run could put them right where they belong – with home-field advantage in the playoffs.

There's no guarantee. The last five matches do show the potential to be better, and a mere 1.4 ppm isn't going to do much to show playoff quality.

But, by being better – not great, just better – there's an opportunity, if they take it.

You can thank the West and Obed Vargas.

– Dave Clark

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Catching up on Sounder at Heart

Midweek games. Weekend action. Catch up on what happened with your favorite pro teams.


Previewing Sunday's match at 3:45 pm PDT against LA Galaxy (Lumen Field, FS1, Apple TV)

Reviewing the Tuesday win



Previewing tonight's match at 7 pm PDT against San Diego Wave (Lumen Field and Prime Video)

Reviewing last weekend's action


Defiance are off this weekend, watching the league results and prepping for next week's Open Cup match when a handful of players are likely to be called into service with the first team.


Spokane is off this weekend. They're currently 5th in the Power Rankings, 2nd on the table (due to playing more games than most), and 4th in their small group of four in the USL Jägermeister Cup.

Looking back at the news

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