Yes, Sounders fans were pretty bummed after losing the 2017 MLS Cup to Toronto FC. It was 2-0 and truth be told, it was never close to being a real contest – the Reds dominated from stem to stern. I don't think I've seen a more complete victory in MLS Cup.
But still, it's just hard to imagine there's a big reason to complain about much of anything if you're a Sounders fan. And that's because Seattle have, since Day 1, done the right things to both achieve and sustain success. That means they're playing into November (and, in the past two seasons, December!) every single year:
Seattle fans have never had to suffer. Not really.
Chances are they won't start suffering in 2018, either. This Sounders team are probably favorites in the Western Conference, and go two-deep with high-level players just about everywhere. Oh Clint Dempsey's aging? Bring in Magnus Wolff Eikrem. Joevin Jones is gone? Bring in Costa Rican international LB Waylon Francis. Need some youth and off-the-dribble verve in attack? Sign Homegrown Handwalla Bwana.
About the only worry is that the CB duo of Chad Marshall and Román Torres is officially long in the tooth, but even that concern looks like it's about to be addressed. Over the past 72 hours the Sounders have been linked to Roderick Miller (Torres's fellow Panamanian international) and South Korean international Kim Kee-Hee. Both are prototypical MLS center backs in terms of size and skillset, and both are in their 20s, and if they get one or both that means Brian Schmetzer can call on difference makers up and down his depth chart.
So there will be no suffering. The Sounders are, at worst, the third-best team in the West.
The question is, of course, how much higher they can climb. The best teams in the league – TFC, NYCFC, Atlanta – had sustained, Best XI-caliber performances from a handful of their best players, and Seattle didn't. Dempsey produced in fits-and-starts; Nicolás Lodeiro wasn't as productive as he had been in 2016; Ozzie Alonso finally showed his age after a lot of wear and tear over the past decade. It's not that this team weren't good (they clearly were), but were they ever, for more than a weekend or two at a time, dominant? Did they ever feel like more than the sum of their parts?
Not really. But the good news is that they've got another chance to sort it all out and make another run into December. Along the way, they're a good bet to inflict some suffering on everybody else.