The club is just five points out of qualifying with two games against sixth-place Portland in the next two weeks.
Don’t look now, but the Sounders are suddenly just five points out of the Western Conference playoff qualifying spots after Sunday’s 2-1 win over Real Salt Lake. That gap seems even narrower with a cursory glance at the next portion of the schedule.
They’ve got two games in hand on sixth-place Portland, and they face the Timbers twice in the coming weeks – next weekend at CenturyLink Field and the following Sunday at Providence Park in Portland.
Should the Sounders expand upon an unbeaten streak that now stands at three, they could suddenly find themselves in a very promising position before the stretch run of the season.
As if Sounders-Timbers games didn’t come with enough built-in drama, those matchups could have a defining hand in deciding the West’s final postseason berth when it’s all said and done.
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“I will start thinking about them tomorrow,” interim Sounders coach Brian Schmetzer said. “Tonight, I’m going to enjoy this moment. We’re going to live in the moment. I’ll get with my staff tomorrow and we’ll watch the film and then we’ll start pushing toward Portland. But we’re going to enjoy this victory.”
• Sounders goalkeeper Stefan Frei took full responsibility for the “boneheaded move” that led to RSL’s lone goal on Sunday. Seattle was cruising toward its second-consecutive win in the 62nd minute, when Frei inexplicably dropped an attempted throw at Yura Movsisyan’s feet.
The RSL substitute did well to keep the play alive, dribbling around Frei before picking out Joao Plata in the middle of the penalty box for a finish into an empty net.
There were questions of offside – with Frei out of the picture, there was just a single defender between Plata and the goal – but the mistake was self-inflicted.
“Just a boneheaded move,” Frei said. “It’s too risky at that point to throw such a tight ball. He kind of seemed disinterested, and I tried to throw it around him, then he sticks his leg out. A boneheaded move on my part, but I was really happy that we were still able to get the W.”
• Curious as to the meaning of Nicolas Lodeiro’s shoe-as-a-phone goal celebration? The Uruguayan playmaker explained its significance through a translator after the match.
“The call was something that I had with my father,” Lodeiro said. “When I played in the interior of Uruguay in Montevideo, he wasn’t always able to come to my games. A phone call to him was the only thing we had to connect us, to talk about the results on the field.”
• There was no update on Erik Friberg’s status after the Sounders midfielder was wiped out by RSL’s Justen Glad during stoppage time.
“I just had to make sure he was breathing,” Schmetzer said. “After that, I’ll get the report from the guys. I couldn’t tell you.”
Schmetzer did say, though, that Friberg was 100 percent healthy and that Seattle’s 4-2-3-1 is here to stay for at least the “near-future.”
Friberg started Sunday’s match on the bench, while second-year player Cristian Roldan got the start next to Osvaldo Alonso in the Seattle midfield. Andreas Ivanschitz got his second consecutive nod in the line of three next to Lodeiro and Clint Dempsey.