Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Win streak has the Sounders back in contention

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By The Capital Sports Report Staff

They may have taken their time about it and given their loyal band of fans an uncomfortable few weeks, but the Seattle Sounders are firing again. The team from Lumen Field is currently second in the division behind current leaders St Louis City FC. With 22 games on the board, we’re fast approaching the business end of the season, and Seattle knows the importance of remaining consistent.

The Sounders’ return to winning ways helped the team recapture the imagination of soccer-loving locals who hope to see Brian Schmetzer’s men challenge for silverware. Winning the MLS Cup would be a major achievement for a team that finished 11th in the Western Conference last season and uninspiring 21st overall. They fell short of the playoffs, piling pressure on everyone connected to The Rave Green.

Soccer
Soccer (Photo by Unsplash)

Better times are ahead, and if the latest odds coming out of Washington sports betting apps is to be believed, 2023 could be the year Seattle wins the MLS Cup for the third time. Their last success came back in 2019, but they did secure their first CONCACAF Champions Cup last year. They have the squad, fanbase, and pedigree to secure MLS glory, but will the Sounders live up to expectations?

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Our soccer enthusiasts and digital journalists team aims to help you answer that question. Keep reading as we bring you up to speed on Seattle’s recent form, upcoming fixtures, and the view from Las Vegas. Are traders supporting the Sounders? 

Sounders score back-to-back wins

A look through Seattle’s five most recent outings sums up how fans have been feeling lately; unconvinced. Despite a solid first half to the season, the Sounders have struggled to find the consistency needed to put pressure on current league leaders. Pace-setters St Louis is currently three points better off following three wins in three games. 

There’s still all to play for, but if recent weeks have taught us anything, City SC won’t be easy to dislodge from the summit. St Louis’ record stands at 12 wins, two draws, and seven defeats, with 40 goals scored and 24 conceded. Compare that to Seattle and their ten wins, five draws, and seven losses, with 28 goals for and 20 against. They’ve won just two of five, drawing two and losing the spare.

What will help ease the frustrations of the Seattle support is the team has taken six points from the last six available. Their most recent victory came from a five-goal thriller when beating Vancouver Whitecaps 3-2 on the road. A fascinating contest ended with a goal from Gomez Andrade with 91 minutes on the clock after Whitecaps had Laborda sent off in the closing stages. A second bookable offense cut their numbers to ten, and Seattle took advantage.

Hard-fought wins

A hard-fought three points and Sounders needed a generous helping of good luck to get through. It was a similar tale in their only other start this month, beating Houston Dymano FC by a one-goal deficit. The winner was scored by Rusnak with 67 on the clock, just six minutes after dos Santos Silva received his marching orders, again for a second booking.

Results show Seattle has been riding their luck somewhat this month, but it doesn’t matter how the wins come as long as three points go to their tally at the full-time whistle. Sounders can play better than they have been this month, scoring four goals and conceding two, but know points win prizes. A contender would rather win 1-0 than lose 4-5 or draw 3-3. 

The entertainment factor is less important now than earlier in the season. Winning is the most critical factor, but Seattle boss Schmetzer knows improving his offense will help send more points in his team’s direction. The stats show they’ve scored a dozen fewer goals than the leaders but have the best defense in the league and one of the strongest in MLS.

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Upcoming Fixtures

Seattle has some exciting fixtures that will define the type of season ahead. They’re off to the San Jose Earthquakes, who sit in midtable without a win in five games, taking three points from a possible 15.

Sounders then welcome FC Dallas later this month in what looks like a must-win fixture. Dallas is also in midtable and struggling for reasons to cheer after losing four of five games, winning the spare. They’ve drawn a blank in their previous two matches, and morale is low in the camp. 

If Seattle can capitalize, they’d have a great chance of getting another win and hanging onto the coattails of the leaders. There’s good reason for the Sounders faithful to have high hopes, but there’s still much work to do before the players, coaches, and board can relax.

Other teams to watch

St Louis and Seattle look certain to battle it out for supremacy in the division, but it will be a tightly contested race. After St Louis on 38 points and Seattle’s tally of 35, we have Los Angeles Football Club and Real Salt Lake on 33 points. 

Austin, FC Dallas, and San Jose Earthquakes have 29 points, and although winning the league may be a tough ask, they’re all in the running for a playoff finish. 

Things are clearer at this stage in the other division, with FC Cincinnati seven points clear of nearest rivals Nashville FC. Between New England Revolution in third and Orlando City SC seventh, there’s a gap of just three points. Expect more twists and turns in the coming weeks.

Markets and predictions

Which team do you expect to win the MLS Cup this season? FC Cincinnati is the pundits’ pick, and it’s easy to see why after catching up with their form. 

The experts aren’t always correct and have been miles off the mark in the past. If Cincinnati doesn’t win, which side will take advantage? Los Angeles FC is the second most popular pick in predictions, with Philadelphia Union making up the top three.

In the top goalscorer market, Hany Mukhtar is the people’s choice, ahead of Denis Bouanga and Georgios Giakoumakis.

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Anthony Caruso III
Anthony Caruso IIIhttps://thecapitalsportsreport.com
Anthony Caruso III is the Publisher of The Capital Sports Report. He has been in the Journalism field since August 2002. Since that time, Mr. Caruso has covered many marquee events. This includes 13 Heisman Trophy ceremonies, 2 Little World Series events, and one Army-Navy College Football game.
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