Seattle Sounders FC is going to be lifting the MLS Cup once again. At least that’s what the voters predict.
The MLS regular season ended last Sunday, meaning the march to the MLS Cup is about to begin. An international break means the postseason gets underway on Nov. 21, and the Sounders are looking to defend their championship after earning the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference.
Therefore, this week’s Seattle Sidelines poll asked readers how far they thought the Sounders would advance in this year’s playoffs.
POLL: How far does Seattle Sounders FC advance in this year’s MLS playoffs? Full context, including a look at the team’s path, here: https://t.co/1FK3QhxxUw
— Nick Patterson (@NickHPatterson) November 9, 2020
Adding up the votes between those cast in the poll posted on the blog and those cast in the poll posted to Twitter and there was a clear result as nearly half the responders — 47% — picked Seattle to win the championship. The three remaining options received similar vote totals, as getting upset in the first two rounds received 21%, while reaching the conference finals and reaching the MLS finals each garnered 16%.
There’s reason to have this level of confidence in the Sounders. Seattle has been the league’s best playoff team the past four years, reaching the finals three times and claiming the championship in both 2016 and 2019. Seattle has the guts of its 2019 championship team intact, including midfielder Nicolas Lodeiro and forward Jordan Morris, who were two of the five players just named finalists for the MLS MVP award. Though Seattle finished behind Sporting KC in the Western Conference in points per game, the Sounders will feel they should beat any opponent from the conference. And even if Seattle were to make the final and run into one of Eastern Conference heavies (Philadelphia Union, Toronto FC), the 2016 final — in which Seattle was dominated by Toronto, but held out to win in penalty kicks — shows anything can happen in a one-off game.
The oddsmakers agree with this assessment, as the Sounders are currently the second betting favorite behind Philadelphia.
It’s interesting that getting upset in the first two rounds came in second, and it’s particularly interesting that there was a substantial spread in that voting option between the blog (27%) and Twitter (12%). My guess is those who read the blog post saw Seattle’s first-round opponent: LAFC. LAFC is probably the most talented team in MLS, but slipped to the No. 7 seed in the conference following an erratic season. LAFC just got reigning league MVP Carlos Vela back from injury, so even though LAFC will probably be missing key players for the meeting because of international duty, it’s the one team in the conference that may strike a little fear into the Sounders.
It all gets started for Seattle on Nov. 24, when LAFC comes to CenturyLink Field for their first-round game. Then we’ll see if the Sounders can continue their postseason excellence and win themselves their third MLS Cup.