Interesting little set of factoids sent by the MLS office in the wake of the Sounders 2-0 season-opening win over Philly:
Is success in First Kick an indication of postseason joy? Overall, teams that qualified for the MLS Cup Playoffs over the first 14 seasons of MLS have a 52-36-24 record in their season openers (.571 winning percentage). Teams that failed to make the playoffs are 11-30-11 to kick off their campaigns (.317).
To look at it another way, in MLS history:
* 83 percent of the teams that won their openers qualified for the playoffs (52 of 63)
* 54 percent of the teams that lost their openers qualified for the playoffs (36 of 66)
* 69 percent of the teams that tied their openers qualified for the playoffs (24 of 35)
Teams that ended up winning MLS Cup are 10-3-1 in their season opener. The league’s first champion, D.C. United, lost their first game in 1996, and the 2005 LA Galaxy lost their season opener. The third? Last year’s champion, Real Salt Lake, who opened the season with a 2-0 loss at Seattle Sounders FC.
However … the fact is that though most of MLS’s previous 14 seasons more than half the teams made the playoffs. Sometimes much more than half.
This season, in fact is the rare season that only half the teams will make the post-season: eight of 16.
So, the Sounders might want to keep winning.