For the first time in 11 years, an expansion MLS team is making the playoffs. Seattle couldn't be happier. After securing a berth with a 3-2 win on the road against Kansas City, the team gets to come home and bask in the home confines of Qwest Field as they play against Dallas FC.
It wasn't an easy game, as the Sounders had to overcome a 2-1 deficit early in the second half. But plugs by Roger Levesque and (ugh) Nate Jaqua sent them to their second tournament in a matter of months (after winning the US Open Cup in September).
It's about time the city had something to celebrate, after 2008 culminated in utter disaster for the Seattle region. The Seahawks had their first losing season in over a decade while missing the playoffs for the first time in five years, the Mariners became the first team to lose 100 games with a payroll of over 100 million, and the Huskies went winless.
Worst of all, the NBA packed up and left on the way to Oklahoma city, removing the only major pro sports title since the defunct Seattle Metropolitans Hockey team won the original Stanley Cup.
Thankfully, 2009 seems to be a year of rebirth for the city. The Mariners rebound to compete for a playoff spot, the Seahawks are in the race once again despite another bunch of injured players, the Huskies were ranked earlier this year after knocking off USC, and now it has all culminated in a playoff spot for the expansion Sounders.
The team has overcome injuries, flopping, and a rash of red cards earlier in the season to be tied for second in points in the league, all while setting records for attendence in MLS. The 30,000+ they've drawn per game would rank high even in the EPL.
Now the hope is that the team can make it to the MLS cup. They'll have to survive a few weeks of playoffs, but the final game will be held in Seattle regardless of their participation. With their performance in the Open Cup earlier in the year, it's not out of the realm of likelyhood that they could be playing in front of 67,000 on November 22nd.