This is a payback match for Sounders FC.
Important playoff positioning is at stake, but players don’t always have that on their minds against teams they owe some payback to.
On May 4th, Sounders sojourned to the nation’s capitol and came away rejected as a proposal for finance reform. Losing 2-1 to DC United. A disappointing effort. A match where no less than a draw seemed certain. With playoff fever circling their heads, this becomes Sounders FC payback day.
A playoff contender approaches their schedule broken up into “season series”, rather than each game. The more series you win, the more likely your chances of playing playoff ball in October. At worst, teams hope to split season series and stay at or above .500. At .500 in baseball you always feel like a season has been a successful effort, and your prospects for playoff contention next season seem only a trade or two away.
Same for Major League Soccer. We just don’t say it enough.
One man does. Sigi Shmid.
There are 6 points for a season series. Three for a win at home, and three for a win on the road. Come away with two points, and it means you drew both matches. In soccer with 1-point for a draw and 3-points for a win, drawing both matches is actually below .500. You are better to win one and lose one than draw both. (3-points for splitting a season series. 2-points for drawing both matches)
DC United took the first match picking up three points at home. Win or draw, they win the season series. Sounders win, and they go .500 for the season series. More importantly, it tightens their grip on a playoff spot.
The Sounders have fared well in most of their season series during their 2011 Major League Soccer schedule. They have only lost two season series, while splitting three others. LA Galaxy and Houston are the only two clubs to take season series from Seattle. Red Bulls, FC Dallas, and Real Salt Lake all won once, but Seattle took one back from each, splitting those series.
A glance at teams the Sounders have lost to once in 2011.
To date no team has taken both matches from Sounders FC.
LA Galaxy: Lose, Draw
Houston Dynamo: Lose, Draw
New York Red Bulls: Split
FC Dallas: Split
Real Salt Lake: Split
DC United: Lost in DC, ? (To Be Determined)
The Sounders played to an exhilarating mid-week CONCACAF Champions League win over Herediano. Exhaustion could play against them. On DC’s side they lost star Chris Pontius to an unfortunate season ending injury. Suffering a broken leg in their match last weekend. Something Sounders FC are all too familiar and empathetic for. His injury will challenge DC United. Nonetheless, they arrive to Seattle with confidence and momentum. Dwayne De Rosario, since being traded from New York has been a great spark and their playoff chances have increased with him.
Chris Pontius scored the first Major League Soccer hat-trick in Seattle during their 3-2 win last year. Since Seattle’s 2009 inaugural season, DC United have been one of Seattle’s toughest home opponents. They drew Seattle 3-3 in 2009, and on the strength of Pontius’s hat-trick last year, won 3-2. Chris Pontius has scored 4 goals in Seattle.
Payback and playoffs.
Sounders FC will put exhaustion aside for a chance at payback. DC United will put a tough injury behind then, knowing this is a match to keep them in the playoffs. Whose mustard is hotter?
Today’s match in Seattle is what every sports fan wants. Both teams have purpose. Both teams have likable character. Both teams have their eyes on post season play.
© 2011 Sales on Sounders by Ryan Sales