CARSON, Calif. – The Seattle Sounders didn’t take the field Sunday night, but they managed to take a victory out of the LA Galaxy’s 1-0 MLS Cup triumph over the Houston Dynamo anyway.
The Galaxy's win means Seattle will advance directly to the group stage of the 2012-13 CONCACAF Champions League by virtue of finishing with the second-highest point total in the 2011 MLS regular season. LA claimed both automatic group stage slots with their MLS Cup/Supporters’ Shield double, and as per CONCACAF rules that were agreed to by both the USSF and MLS, if one team takes both of those titles then the “extra” berth goes to the team with the next-best regular season finish.
The Sounders had already qualified for the CCL play-in round thanks to their US Open Cup title. Advancing straight to the group stage spares them a home-and-home series – and the extra travel that comes with it – against either a Central American or Caribbean side.
The MLS Cup loss puts Houston into the play-in round along with Real Salt Lake, who qualified based upon finishing third in the regular-season standings.
LA and Seattle are both into the quarterfinals of the 2011-12 CCL, along with Toronto FC. That tournament returns to action in early March.