The Seattle Sounders have been exceptional in 2011. A second place finish in MLS hides that they put together the third-best point total of any team since 1998 and in almost any other year would have run away with the Supports' Shield title. That is in addition to their U.S. Open Cup title and successful advancement to the knockout stages of the CONCACAF Champions League.
While they have done a plenty fine job early in matches, the key to the Sounders' success is actually what they've done late in matches.
When trailing in the 75th minute, Seattle has managed a 3-5-3 record, so they are more likely to get a point out of a match they are fighting back from behind as they are to come out of it with a loss and no points at all.
Think about that for a second. When the Sounders are trailing in the 75th minute, they are more likely to get a result than lose. HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE? More than a quarter of the time they turn those 75th minute deficits into wins. It's one of the more incredible stats in MLS this season.
Now as the Sounders get ready for the MLS Cup Playoffs, it is Real Salt Lake who has to worry about the way Seattle finishes matches. RSL takes on the Sounders in the conference semifinals beginning on Saturday and their fate may depend on how they finish matches. They are finally at full strength and as good as Seattle has been, Salt Lake is hoping their full team can get the job done. The Sounders are the kings of the final 15 so Salt Lake will have to get it done in the first 75 then see if they can hold on late. It's something a lot of teams have had trouble with this year.