All or nothing: How the Seattle Sounders can make the MLS Cup Playoffs

Sep 10, 2022; Seattle, Washington, USA; Seattle Sounders FC forward Raul Ruidiaz (9) celebrates
Sep 10, 2022; Seattle, Washington, USA; Seattle Sounders FC forward Raul Ruidiaz (9) celebrates / Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
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Seattle needs to win their final three games, period. Two wins and a draw might not suffice given that a lot of dominoes need to fall. The LA Galaxy are currently holding the final playoff spot in the Western Conference with 43 points, while the Sounders are behind with 39 points, a four-point difference.

Looking at the schedules between the Galaxy, Real Salt Lake, Vancouver and Seattle, the Sounders seem to have the more favorable schedule. They host Cincinnati next Tuesday night, having a lengthy break during the international window, though they could be without Raul Ruidiaz and Jordan Morris, who were called into their respective camps. (Seattle is negotiating with Peru to at least get Ruidiaz back). The Sounders then go on the road to Sporting Kansas City before finishing the season against last-place San Jose at home.

Cincinnati has been on a tear, and despite Sporting Kansas City likely missing out on the playoffs, a team coached by Peter Vermes can never be counted out. San Jose has been on a run of spoiling the party for teams, recently earning a draw against Dallas. Back on Sept. 4, the Earthquakes upset the Whitecaps.

The match to watch during the last month of the season includes a tilt between the LA Galaxy and Real Salt Lake on Oct. 1. The Galaxy would set themselves up nicely with a win, but a draw would benefit the Sounders. The Galaxy, on paper, also have a fairly easy schedule, but go on the road against San Jose and Houston.

After taking on the Galaxy, Real Salt Lake will host the Portland Timbers, who are also trying to hang on to their fifth-place spot after earning a crucial draw on the road against the Columbus Crew this past weekend. However, Portland has a tough final slew of games, hosting first-place LAFC and then taking on RSL.

Vancouver also doesn't have it easy, hosting Austin FC and then going on the road against Minnesota United on Decision Day. Also, the Loons of Minnesota United FC haven't won in five-straight games, losing four and drawing once. Their confidence is grim going into San Jose and then hosting Vancouver.

To make matters more confusing, the Colorado Rapids are still technically in it, although they have the worst goal differential of the teams still vying for a playoff spot. Colorado has a negative goal differential of -12, but have 39 points, the same as the Sounders. They host FC Dallas and then go on the road against Austin FC.

Let's cut to the chase: the Sounders are going to need some help. In the most ironic way possible, Seattle is going to need some help from two of their biggest enemies: Minnesota and Portland. Portland earning a win over Real Salt Lake would greatly help the Sounders on Decision Day. Meanwhile, Minnesota winning over Vancouver, also on Decision Day, would be charity to the Sounders.