POLL: How will the Sounders fare in the Western Conference?

Seattle began the 2018 MLS season Sunday with the goal of reaching a third straight MLS Cup final.

Seattle Sounders FC is trying for a trifecta.

The Sounders just opened their 2018 MLS season, and Seattle has a chance of reaching the MLS Cup final for the third consecutive season.

It’s been a golden period for the Sounders. Seattle claimed its first MLS Cup in 2016 by beating Toronto FC on penalty kicks in the final. Then last year the Sounders returned to the final, though this time Seattle lost the rematch with Toronto 2-0.

The team that reached last year’s final returns almost intact as there was little roster turnover during the offseason. The only significant departure was left back/left midfielder Joevin Jones, who signed to play in Germany. The Sounders will also be without forward Jordan Morris, who suffered an ACL tear in his knee and has been declared out for the season. But everyone who started the final other than Jones is back, along with six of the seven players named to the bench. In Clint Dempsey and Nicolas Lodeiro Seattle has a pair of elite attacking talents, Roman Torres and Chad Marshall the are perhaps the league’s best central defending pair, and goalkeeper Stefan Frei is as good as it gets in MLS.

The lack of departures means Seattle didn’t bring in a lot of new faces, either. However, the Sounders did make a couple of intriguing additions, signing Norwegian international midfielder Magnus Wolff Eikrem and South Korean international defender Kim Kee-hee. In theory those two should provide a boost to the team’s depth. Seattle is also in a position where it’s capable of bringing in another designated player, so the team could still upgrade its firepower.

There’s a strong belief that Seattle is capable of getting back to the finals. Before the season started the Sounders were tied for second in the betting odds for lifting the cup, behind Toronto and on par with Atlanta United, both of which are Eastern Conference teams. Therefore Seattle starts as the favorite in the Western Conference.

Seattle’s campaign, however, got off to a stuttering start Sunday. The Sounders opened the MLS season by losing at home against an expansion team, falling 1-0 to Los Angeles FC. It was a curious game. Seattle played without five projected starters because of injury and rest — the Sounders were keeping more than one eye on Wednesday’s CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal against Mexico’s CD Guadalajara. Yet the Sounders dominated the proceedings, outshooting LAFC 22-5.

And slow starts haven’t stopped the Sounders the past two years. Both years Seattle lost its opener. Both years the Sounders’ sluggish start extended well into the season. And both years Seattle made a late-season run to reach the playoffs, then got hot in the postseason to advance to the final. And don’t forget that the Sounders have never missed the playoffs since joining the league in 2009.

So how will the Sounders fare in the Western Conference this year? Make your prediction here:

Talk to us

More in Sports

Shorewood’s Ben Borgia lines up his putt during the Tom Dolan Memorial Invitational at the Everett Golf & Country Club on Monday, April 11, 2022 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
State golf preview: Local qualifiers and top area golfers to watch

The high school state golf tournaments are Tuesday and Wednesday at various courses across the state.

Kamiak's Luke Strand (left to right), Brandon Yoon, coach Vic Alinen, Daniel Kim, Brandon Suh and Aaron Choi pose for a photo after winning the Class 4A Distrcit 1 Tournament on May 17, 2022, at Legion Memorial Golf Course in Everett. (Contributed photo)
Defending champ Kamiak set for long-awaited state return

Senior Daniel Kim leads a reloaded squad that’s poised for another top finish.

Sisters Kiana and Malia Schroeder, who will be representing Lakewood High School at state, stand back to back in front of their school Thursday, May 19, 2022, in Arlington, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Sisters lead charge for rising Lakewood girls golf team

State-bound Cougars Kiana and Malia Schroeder make up a strong 1-2 punch for the Northwest Conference champions.

AquaSox's manager, Louis Boyd, Funko Field at Everett Memorial Stadium in Everett on July 28, 2019. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Surging AquaSox pull away to beat Hops

Everett adds on late for its fifth straight win.

Boston Red Sox's Franchy Cordero, center, celebrates with teammates after hitting a grand slam in the tenth inning of a baseball game against the Seattle Mariners, Sunday, May 22, 2022, in Boston. The Red Sox won 8-4. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
M’s lose to Red Sox on walk-off grand slam

Seattle ends its road trip by being swept in a four-game series with Boston.

Kamiak’s Koll Pehlivanian’s charge is halted by Skyline’s Vishnu Varadhan Saturday afternoon at Goddard Stadium in Everett, Washington on May 21, 2022. The Knights lost 5-2. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Skyline adds on late to oust Kamiak boys soccer from state

The Knights kept it close for the first 60 minutes of a season-ending loss in the state quarterfinals.

Lake Washington rallies to eliminate Ed.-Woodway baseball from state

The Kangaroos pull ahead with 3 runs in the 6th and hand the Warriors a season-ending 3-1 loss in a 3A state regional.

Lynnwood baseball’s strong season comes to rough end at state

The district champion Royals suffer an 11-1 mercy-rule loss to Mt. Spokane in a 3A state regional.

White line on Green grass sport field for sport concept
Prep results for Saturday, May 21

Prep results for Saturday, May 21 (Note for coaches/Scorekeepers: To report results… Continue reading

Most Read