The Sounders FC clinched a playoff berth late Wednesday night, albeit not the way the club wanted.
Western Conference foes San Jose and Portland not winning their matches against Eastern Conference opponents mathematically qualified Seattle. The Sounders (14-10-8) had an opportunity to clinch by their own efforts, but failed to beat D.C. United on the road Sunday.
The Sounders’ berth is an MLS-record 11th in a row. The club won the MLS Cup in 2016.
“We’d prefer, those players would prefer to get in by winning games,” Sounders coach Brian Schmetzer said Wednesday after training at the club’s Starfire Sports facility. “I reminded them that our objective of this franchise is to get to second (place).”
The Sounders are currently fourth in Western Conference standings with 50 points and two remaining games and two points separating them from second-place Minnesota United. LAFC leads the league with 68 points and receives a first-round bye along with home-field advantage.
The next two seeds are guaranteed home games through the conference semifinals.
MLS has a new loser-out playoff format this season. The postseason begins Oct. 19 and the title match is Nov. 10.