It's true. Saturday's match in San Jose is an important one when it comes to the Sounders' chances of making the playoffs this season. Just a couple months ago, the basement of the standings was more of a good bet for us.
Since then, we've had a bunch of ups and a couple of downs. Mostly ups, thankfully. Our newest designated player, Nico Lodeiro, was named player of the month for August. The boys beat Portland at home. Román Torres is back. However, Clint Dempsey is on the shelf with a heart condition, and the boys dropped points in Portland two weeks ago.
It's safe to say that a rested team with the bulk of its firepower back in action shows promise, though. It's also safe to say that the group of travelers heading to San Jose don't need a massive bar or a Shirt Free Zone to be tempted into going to a soccer match. They're there for one thing - to support the Sounders.
For the Quakes, this match is just as critical. While they currently hold the sixth and final playoff spot in the West, they stand just one point ahead of Seattle after 26 matches played. Both clubs will be looking to gain ground on (or catch up to) Vancouver and Portland, who have played 28 matches to date, as the regular season comes to a close.
Forget what the "experts" say for a moment. Forget what the Sounders looked like two or three months ago. Focus on the here and now, the fact that the club has turned a major corner since Brian Schmetzer took the helm, and the fact that we still don't care about the Heritage Cup, but will gladly take it away from San Jose.
On Saturday evening, you could be in San Jose, might have footgolf-worn feet, or a belly full of tacos from the BarraQ you just attended, but one thing will be for certain. You'll be supporting the boys from wherever you stand, sit or recline (we heard you ate too many tacos!). Do what you do best, ECS, wherever you are.
Up the Sounders!
Up the ECS!