Amidst all the Seahawks talk and fallout from last night’s Apple Cup, the one local story with the greatest potential sat somewhat dormant this weekend, but can’t be ignored.
The Sounders have a chance to do something never done before in Seattle sports: Winning a professional league championship in back-to-back years.
This Thursday night at CenturyLink Field, the Sounders can advance to the MLS Cup for the second straight season with either a win, a draw, or a one-goal loss to the Houston Dynamo. That would set up a championship match in either Toronto or Columbus where Seattle could accomplish the unprecedented.
Aside from the Seattle Metropolitan’s Stanley Cup Championship (because it happened close to 100 years ago), every championship run has been memorable: From the Sonics in ’79, to the Storm in 2004 and 2010, and the Seahawks in 2013.
But none of them defended their title.
That’s not to downplay the Sounders three peat in the U.S. Open Cup – those were pretty amazing - but that was a tournament. That wasn’t a full season, with all of the ups and downs that comes with a 10-month grind. There’s a prestige that comes with being league champs. And a unique greatness that comes with doing it two straight years.
That’s why I love the Sounders’ approach: The hashtag #DefendOurCup. OUR cup. Until another team comes along and takes it away, it’s the Sounders trophy – not anyone else’s.
And now, they have a chance to become just the fourth team in Major League Soccer history to go back-to-back.
To be on the brink of such a feat is extraordinary. And it’s worth emphasizing yet again how unusual and gratifying this run of success has been under the watch of a local product in Brian Schmetzer – a man that IS Seattle, a man that bleeds Seattle. Not to mention players like Jordan Morris, Christian Roldan and Lamar Neagle with local ties.
Appropriately, Schmetzer can now be the one who raises the bar.
We know how close our local teams have come to winning two straight titles. No one is taking a thing for granted.
But advance to that championship game with a decent result this Thursday night? The Sounders will be on the brink of breaking down a brand new door in the annals of Seattle sports.