Commentary: Astonishing Sounders FC turnaround reflects franchise’s winning tradition

Seeing the Storm on the trollies today gave me memories of the last time a team paraded down Seattle streets: The Sounders, winning a title, capping the most unexpected turnaround in franchise history.

At least...until this year.

Last night in Vancouver, the Sounders won their ninth straight game. It’s a Major League Soccer record that continues to grow. They’re unbeaten in their last 12 matches and haven’t lost since June. Oh, and they won that Cascadia Cup that’s kinda, sorta, maybe important when it comes to the regional rivalry in the Pacific Northwest.

This run is unprecedented. It was unanticipated. And it is absolutely astonishing!

This team – once dead last in the Western Conference – is now in playoff position, and just seven points out of first place.

Now, sure, there are legitimate factors that led to this run: From getting healthy, to getting players back from the World Cup, and signing Raul Ruidiaz and Brad Smith. But this kind of run would’ve been impressive even if they’d signed Cristiano Ronaldo! And I think at the end of the day, it comes down to a certain characteristic of the franchise itself: A winning tradition.

When you reach the playoffs every year of your existence, that standard is always there. It never goes away. And as improbable as it might seem at times, the Sounders have continued to find ways to live up to that standard.

And frankly, so have the Storm – their three championships are living proof. And apparently, in just one year, thanks to their Major League Rugby title, so have the Seawolves.

In fact, with so many local teams finding success, it’s hard to write a commentary like this without getting even more frustrated with another team that has not. It’s hard to discuss a team that’s been full of resolve and found ways to win down the stretch without indirectly throwing shade at another one that’s let us down.

But at the end of the day, the Sounders made significant moves before the summer transfer window that have clearly paid off, while the other one opted not to make big moves before their trade deadline, and their season’s gone south. The same franchise rushed to give out contract extensions to their front office in the midst of a little midseason success without letting the entire year play out, while the Sounders still have a fanbase that has the capability of holding its general manager accountable by voting him out!

So congratulations, Sounders, for continuing to boggle our minds. For continuing to never quit, even when most would’ve thrown in the towel. For representing what a winning tradition really means, and showing it on the field.

Thank you for this incredible run. As for the winning streak? Time to make it a Perfect Ten.