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Slumping Sounders say they're ready for playoffs

Slumping Sounders say they're ready for playoffs
Fans packed CenturyLink Field, setting a Pacific Northwest soccer match record with 67,385 in attendance, for the Seattle Sounders vs Portland Timbers Cascadia Cup match. The Sounders came out victorious with a 1-0 win in Clint Dempsey's first home game with the Sounders. August 25th 2013. (Joshua Lewis / KOMO News)
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SEATTLE (AP) — Adam Moffat is relatively new to Seattle but not to the situation the Sounders are about to face.

Moffat was with Houston a year ago when the Dynamo entered the Major League Soccer playoffs as the No. 5 seed in the Eastern Conference and made a run all the way to the MLS Cup final before falling to the Los Angeles Galaxy.

Moffat's experience is firsthand proof for the Sounders that getting stuck with having to play an extra round in the MLS playoffs doesn't have to end up being a bad thing.

"It really doesn't matter. Once you get in there it's all about producing your best, and if not then you're probably going to lose," Moffat said. "We need to get back the form that we had a couple of months ago and I feel like we could definitely win."

Thanks to a late-season slide, the Sounders fell out of contention for the top spot in the Western Conference and the Supporters' Shield race. They're winless in their last seven games and now must host Colorado on Wednesday night in the play-in round of the Western Conference playoffs.

The reward that sits on the other side of Wednesday night's matchup could be huge for the Sounders and the MLS: a shot at top-seeded Portland in the two-leg conference semifinals. Midfielder Brad Evans acknowledged after Seattle's 1-1 draw with Los Angeles on Sunday night that while not discrediting Colorado, it was impossible not to think about a potential Cascadia playoff clash with the Timbers.

"I've been thinking about it to be honest. I would rather play Portland," Evans said. "We've played both those teams (Real Salt Lake and Los Angeles) enough in playoff situations, I think it would be good to play them. I would like to play them early in the playoffs, I think. If we get a win on Wednesday night, and historically we've been a team that's been able to play Saturday-Wednesday-Saturday so if we do happen to advance, it won't be something that is kind of a shock for us."

Seattle could be the ultimate wild card entering the postseason. They could continue on a run of bad form and flame out against a Colorado team that routed the Sounders 5-1 less than a month ago. Or, with the talent of U.S. national team players Evans, Clint Dempsey and Eddie Johnson, Seattle could just as easily make a deep run similar to what Houston and Los Angeles did a season ago.

In three of the last four seasons, at least one lower-seeded team has come through to reach the MLS Cup final. Last year, with the MLS going to a new playoff format that featured the play-in game in both conferences, both finalists went through the play-in round. Los Angeles beat Vancouver then knocked off San Jose and Seattle to reach the final. Houston beat Chicago in the play-in round before defeating Sporting Kansas City and D.C. United to make the final.

"It doesn't matter where you are. You just have to win your games and move forward," Seattle coach Sigi Schmid said. "Certainly Wednesday is a game you have to win because it's a one-off. And then after that you get into the next series and you work on that aspect of it. We have to be prepared Wednesday. We owe Colorado one."
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Sounders beat Galaxy 2-0, win Supporters' Shield Sounders beat Galaxy 2-0, win Supporters' Shield