The Seattle Sounders are facing the prospect of a very rare exclusion from the MLS Cup Playoffs but, according to head coach Brian Schmetzer, remain determined to get over the line.
Seattle were forced to face FC Cincinnati on Tuesday with a depleted squad due to international call-ups but still held their own, with Fredy Montero canceling out Brenner’s opener in the 58th minute.
However, Kelyn Rowe’s 69th-minute red card ended any hopes of a Sounders victory and, now, the Rave Green sit five points adrift of Minnesota United in the seventh and final Playoffs spot with just two games remaining.
The reigning Concacaf Champions League winners and MLS Cup finalists in four of the last six seasons, Seattle haven’t missed out on the Playoffs in any of their 13 seasons in the league so far.
“Determined,” Schmetzer responded when asked how he and his side were feeling after Tuesday’s match. “The staff is just as committed to winning as the players. We feel the pit in your stomach because we didn’t come out with three points. But we’re going to continue to do our job, coach the guys up and, Kansas City, we’re going to go down there and try and get three points.
“We’re not out of it yet.”
Echoing Schmetzer’s determination, veteran forward Will Bruin is refusing to rule out the Sounders yet, with games against two of the Western Conference’s bottom three teams – Sporting KC and San Jose Earthquakes – rounding off the regular season.
“I’ve been in MLS long enough that I know if you’re not mathematically eliminated, there’s still hope,” Bruin said. “I was just looking, we’re five points out of the playoffs right now, six points for us to get in. That’s all of our focus, all we can control right now. Unfortunately, we couldn’t maximize nine points out of these last three [games].
“All we know is it’s a mandatory six for the last two games, with some help.”
Even so, Bruin is experienced enough to know what the Sounders are up against and how they got into this situation. They’ve left themselves in a ‘do-or-die’ situation.
“It makes it tough, it makes it really tough,” Bruin added. “But there is no ‘poor us, feel sorry for us.’ This is the situation we put ourselves in. I think back to the three-game road trip not too long ago: Portland, LA, and Orlando. Nine points right there, and we got one out of them. So, we did this to ourselves. This is the situation we’re in. It is what is.
“It’s literally do-or-die now.”
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