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Discuss: Can Sounders stage another second-half surge into playoffs?

They are healthy (mostly), Raul Ruidiaz just scored his first MLS goal and Seattle Sounders FC are unbeaten in their last five, conceding just once in their last four, and have won back-to-back games for the first time this season.

The Rave Green have moved up the Western Conference standings and heading into Sunday’s showdown with red-hot New York City FC (5 pm ET | ESPN - Full TV & Streaming info) at CenturyLink Field, are seven points below the playoff line with 14 games to play.

That begs the following question: Can the Sounders rally again in the second half of the season as they did in each of the last two playoff-bound seasons?

We got answers from Senior Editors Nick Rosano and Ben Couch, Armchair Analyst Matt Doyle, former MLS player Bobby Warshaw and contributors Dylan Butler and Alicia Rodriguez.

Will Seattle pull off a third straight improbable turnaround, or will this be the first year they miss the playoffs?

BUTLER: The top five in the West are pretty well-established, which means five teams will be fighting for one spot. Of that group, Real Salt Lake and Minnesota United FC have looked really good at home, and really horrible on the road. Only Vancouver have as many road wins as the Sounders. We’ll know a lot more by the summer’s end with six of their next seven against Western foes. I don’t think they have enough in the tank, as currently constructed, to overcome their poor start.

COUCH: It's MLS. They've looked good recently. The west hasn't looked great all year. The path is there, and they know how to stay on track. The day they are actually eliminated from the playoffs is the day I'll believe it can't happen.

DOYLE: I'm leaning toward "yes." Of the teams in the race for the sixth spot in the West, Seattle have 1) the best defense, 2) the best road record, and 3) the most home games left. Plus, they just added a guy who's already paying dividends, with more on the way.

RODRIGUEZ: My head says they can't keep doing it, but my heart feels like they're going to do it! I'm not even sure I have the logic to back this up, honestly, just a gut feeling.

ROSANO: On one hand, making up a seven-point gap in 14 games is far from an impossible ask. On the other, the Sounders have four teams between them and that final playoff spot. It's not only a question of, 'Are the Sounders good enough?' (They are.) It's also a question of, 'Will the other teams falter?' That, I'm not so sure about. But if history has taught us anything, it's not to bet against a second-half Sounders surge to the playoffs.

WARSHAW: They need about 1.86 ppg for the rest of the year. It's not an impossible number to achieve, especially since they don't have a difficult schedule moving forward, but I think it's a little too much to ask. I suspect they will make it interesting, but come up just short. 

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