MLS Countdown: Lodeiro, Morris can help Sounders clinch

A home win against Houston is all that is needed Wednesday for Seattle, which won just five of its first 17 games, to nail down a postseason spot.

The Sounders (13-13-5, 44 points) have pushed into the playoff tier by winning seven of their last 10 games and are a point behind fourth-place Real Salt Lake. By finishing third or fourth Seattle can claim a home game in the Knockout Round; by beating Houston it would close to within one point of the third-place LA Galaxy.

Both previous meetings this season ended 1-1 at BBVA Compass Stadium and the second game, on Aug. 24, occurred after the firing of head coach Sigi Schmid and the arrival of Uruguayan attacker Nicolas Lodeiro. He scored Seattle’s goal in that match, one of three he’s netted -- along with eight assists -- in the 10 games he has played. He’s gone the full 90 minutes in each one of them as well.

Houston has been eliminated from playoff contention but has played teams tough down the stretch. It posted back-to-back wins against RSL on the road and Portland at home before losing its last two games to New York City FC and Colorado. It is 4-6-7 since the club named former assistant coach Wade Barrett as interim head coach in early June.

Lodeiro returned early from international duty with Uruguay and is available to play against Houston. A caution in the 3-0 defeat of Venezuela on Friday ruled him out of Uruguay’s match Tuesday against Colombia in Barranquilla. He also served an MLS suspension for a Sept. 24 match against Vancouver and has been cautioned five times in his 10 appearances.

“I think he just has to get used to the referees, the league, the way it works and everything else because some of those yellows weren’t for bad tackles,” Sounders coach Brian Schmetzer told “Once he figures out the league, he’s a smart kid. He’ll figure it out.”

Captain Brad Evans will miss the Houston game to serve a suspension, but Schmetzer will have his first-choice front line available. Jordan Morris was released from U.S. duty after a 2-0 victory over Cuba. Seattle is 6-1-3 with Lodeiro in the lineup and in those 10 games Morris has scored five goals.

“When you’re winning games and things are going your way, it’s just more fun to be in the locker room,” says Morris, who in his rookie season has ridden through a rocky first half of the season, the firing of Schmid, and sidelining of teammate Clint Dempsey for medical concerns. “It was tough at the beginning of the year. Results weren’t going our way and when that happens, everything is a little bit drearier. It’s been a turnaround, completely, and it’s a lot of fun right now."

WEEK 32:
Wednesday, October 12

10:30 pm Seattle vs. Houston
Thursday, October 13
8:30 pm Chicago vs. Columbus
9 pm Colorado vs. San Jose
Sunday, October 16
3 pm D.C. United vs. New York City
3 pm NY Red Bulls vs. Columbus
3 pm Chicago vs. New England
3 pm Montreal vs. Toronto FC, ESPN, ESPN Deportes
3 pm Philadelphia vs. Orlando City
5 pm FC Dallas vs. Seattle
5 pm Houston vs. LA Galaxy
5 pm Real Salt Lake vs. Sporting KC
5 pm San Jose vs. Vancouver
5 pm Portland vs. Colorado, ESPN, ESPN Deportes

MLS Standings:
51 (32) *NY Red Bulls 14-9-9 56/42
51 (32) *New York City 14-9-9 57/53
49 (32) *Toronto FC 13-9-10 46/35
44 (32) Montreal 11-10-11 47/48
43 (32) D.C. United 10-9-13 48/42
42 (32) Philadelphia 11-12-9 52/51
39 (32) New England 10-13-9 40/52
35 (31) Columbus 8-12-11 45/49
35 (32) x-Orlando City 7-11-14 49/58
27 (31) x-Chicago 6-16-9 36/52

56 (32) *FC Dallas 16-8-8 48/39
54 (31) *Colorado 14-5-12 37/29
48 (32) *LA Galaxy 11-6-15 53/39
45 (32) Real Salt Lake 12-11-9 43/44
44 (31) Seattle 13-13-5 41/40
43 (32) Sporting KC 12-13-7 40/41
41 (32) Portland 11-13-8 46/49
37 (31) San Jose 8-10-13 31/36
35 (32) x-Vancouver 9-15-8 41/51
32 (31) x-Houston 7-13-11 39/45
*Clinched playoff berth.
x-Eliminated from playoffs.

Leading Scorers:
David Villa (New York City)
21 Bradley Wright-Phillips (NY Red Bulls)
16 Sebastian Giovinco (Toronto FC)
16 Dominic Dwyer (Sporting KC)
15 Fanendo Adi (Portland)
15 Ola Kamara (Columbus)
15 Ignacio Piatti (Montreal)
14 Giovani dos Santos (LA Galaxy)
14 Cyle Larin (Orlando City)
13 Diego Valeri (Portland)

WEEK 33:
Sunday, October 23
4 pm Sporting KC vs. San Jose
4 pm Toronto FC vs. Chicago
4 pm Vancouver vs. Portland
4 pm LA Galaxy vs. FC Dallas
4 pm Orlando City vs. D.C. United
4 pm New England vs. Montreal
4 pm Seattle vs. Real Salt Lake
4 pm Philadelphia vs. NY Red Bulls
4 pm Colorado vs. Houston
4 pm New York City vs. Columbus

(All times ET.)

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