If there’s a worse way to head into the postseason, the Sounders FC have one more match to sink to those depths. As of Monday, the once fearsome club is winless in their past five games.

Compounding the losses and lackluster results are the missed opportunities. Seattle had a chance to not only leapfrog Sporting Kansas City for the top spot in the Western Conference with a win but regain a cushion for the coveted spot, which grants a first-round bye in the postseason.

Instead, the Sounders couldn’t find a goal on their own merit against the Los Angeles Galaxy, the sides leaving a rainy Lumen Field with a 1-1 draw. Seattle (17-8-8) moves one point ahead of Kansas City in the standings, but Sporting has a game in hand.

“I said this a few weeks ago, but we’re lucky this isn’t the playoffs,” Sounders midfielder Kelyn Rowe said. “We have another game to go into where we can rectify these events and make sure we’re on the front foot going into the playoffs. We know we’re going to be there, so once the playoffs hit, we need to make sure our mindset is correct as well as our tactics.”

The last time L.A. (13-12-8) defeated Seattle at Lumen Field was in July 2016. The draw keeps the Galaxy in the running for a postseason berth.

A common thread with the winless stretch is the Sounders conceding early goals. On Monday, it was in the 19th minute.

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Galaxy striker Chicharito flicked the score off his backfoot. The play began with a corner kick, Nicholas DePuy using the service to head the ball to Chicharito, who was unmarked directly in front of goal.

The score was the Mexican national’s 15th of the season. He returned to the lineup after missing the match against Kansas City on Saturday.

“That one was disturbing,” Sounders coach Brian Schmetzer said. “Believe it or not, the last couple of weeks we’ve tweaked our defending on our set pieces. How that goal happened with Chicharito by himself in the box, we’ll look at that and try and correct that.

“But we did a lot of work on defending our corner kicks and then we give up an early goal. … It wasn’t horrible, the performance, but there’s certainly areas of improvement that need to happen before going into the playoffs — set pieces, defending and our attacking rhythm to the game. There was no rhythm to the game.”

Galaxy defender Oniel Fisher clipped Cristian Roldan in the box to create a chance for the Sounders to level the score. Rave Green striker Raul Ruidiaz took the penalty kick, floating his shot just out of L.A. keeper Jonathan Bond’s reach in the 51st minute.

Ruidiaz is tied for second in MLS’s Golden Boot race with 17 goals this season. New York City FC forward Valentín Castellanos leads with 18 strikes.

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Roldan had what looked like a game-winner in the 68th and 87th minutes but the ball hit the post. There was also a header by Sounders defender Xavier Arreaga in second-half stoppage time that Bond saved.

Monday was Roldan’s 200th career MLS match — all with the Sounders.

“I sensed the hunger,” Sounders keeper Stefan Frei told the broadcast crew of his team’s play in the second half. “You try to almost overthrow your opponent and make their defense bend so hard that they break. Unfortunately (they didn’t).”

The club jazzed up their on-field prematch ceremonies for some dignitaries, part of the 32,781 in attendance. Seattle is vying to be a host city for the 2026 men’s World Cup and the FIFA delegation has spent the past two days viewing venues and listening to a presentation dubbed “Sea 2026.”

FIFA is expected to announce its cities for the 48-team tournament in March 2022.

Adding to the World Cup buzz before kickoff was Seattle’s game-day selection. Schmetzer had all three of his 2020 Best XI players in co-captain Nico Lodeiro, Ruidiaz and Jordan Morris for the first time this season. Morris was the last to make an appearance, subbing on for Ruidiaz in the 60th minute.

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Morris suffered an ACL tear in his left knee in February while on loan with English Championship side Swansea City A.F.C. He’s been part of full training since mid-October.

The standing ovation was startling for Morris because he hasn’t played before a full Lumen Field since March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and injury.

“That was a special moment,” Morris said of the cheers. “I did maybe one slide tackle, I don’t think I’ve done one yet, so, that was a good ‘you’re back’ moment. I felt like my speed was there and obviously the touches and fitness will come as I play more games. It just felt good to get back out there.”

Lodeiro and Ruidiaz started their first Sounders matches since September. Lodeiro had a second minor knee surgery that kept him out of the lineup. Ruidiaz was dealing with a hamstring injury and honored an international call-up for Peru that kept him out of the rotation.

The Sounders close the season with a Cascadia match against the Vancouver Whitecaps FC on Sunday.

“The mood is subdued because it was a loss,” Schmetzer said. “Let’s just call this tie a loss.”