Toronto FC are in Seattle today, hoping for some sort of miracle to keep them in the playoff race. While the team is still mathematically within the realm of the possible, they are virtually out of the playoffs, while the MLS Final will be played in Toronto. The team is a mess, the fans are upset, and Dave Clark from Sounder at Heart covers all this in much more depth than I ever could.
The Sounders, on the other hand, keep going from strength to strength. Since losing to the Galaxy on July 4, Seattle has picked up 24 points from a possible 33, with only one loss in those eleven league matches. Sure, they haven't been at their best in CONCACAF play, but midweek they finally found CCL points with a 2-0 win over Marathón. Mike Fucito scored a brace and then limped off with a swollen ankle, so apparently we need to find some bubble wrap for Mr. Jelly-Knee. Keep that man healthy.
With the Sounders playing mostly their b-side (although what a b-side!) on Wednesday night, it's likely they'll send out the A-Team tonight, with the exception of Alvaro Fernandez. Sigi Schmid really doesn't want to start him in a league match, it appears, although he'll have no choice next week as Sanna Nyassi has been called up to Gambia for an Africa Cup of Nations qualifier. Speaking of call-ups, Terry Boss is unavailable today, as he's off playing for Puerto Rico. Seattle will dip into the MLS pool of emergency backup keepers to cover themselves in case something unthinkable happens to Kasey Keller.
Three points today should ensure Seattle's place in the MLS playoffs. The situation is ideal: in the friendly confines of Qwest, against a struggling team, with a team that just seems to keep getting better and better. Yet the Sounders also have a trophy to defend on Tuesday night--will that change the way they approach today's match?
I'm sure if Blaise Nkufo has his way, the Sounders will be seeking to win twice in three days, helped on by his flurry of goals.