Updated 9/26: Match day stories appear in the Seattle Times and the Montreal Gazette today. USLsoccer.com previews the entire round.
Marissa Flores photo from www.SeattleSportsOnline.com
Predicting how the Seattle Sounders will do in the upcoming USL playoffs is about as tough as predicting the Presidential election race or how the current economic woes will play out.
It ain't easy.
It is made more difficult by the Sounders themselves. A team full of talent that is as healthy as they have been all season, yet one that just completed a dud of a home stand by winning only 2 out of 7 matches at Starfire.
Opponent Montreal Impact are in their own little world these days, having rallied from near-bottom of the table to finish 3rd place, all the while continuing a run of success in the CONCACAF Champions League.
You would think the fact that the Impact played last night in Montreal against Mexican power Atlante (0-0 draw), and now must cross the continent by flight and then bus it from Vancouver, would be a significant help for the Sounders.
History says no. Just a bit more than two weeks ago Montreal were playing their fourth match in eight days and made a similar trek to Tukwila on minimal rest and two days between matches. The Impact bested the rested Sounders that night 2-1.
The Sounders have yet to play a 'complete' match all season against a USL club. They've displayed enough offense accompanied with defensive breakdowns, or little offense along with defensive solidity. In the playoffs these kinds of inconsistencies are deal-breakers.
Do the Sounders have it in them? While it is hard to place bets for the club, we'd be foolish to bet against them, too. After all, these are the guys who have won it all the last two times they have qualified for the playoffs (2005, 2007).
They've got the talent. They've got what appears to be a scheduling advantage. They've got all to play for.
Will the real Seattle Sounders, defending league champions, finally be making an appearance in the USL in 2008?