One of the more dubious customs of Major League Soccer has been the length of the season, roughly the equivalent of three Russian winters. Moments after the final goal is scored in the MLS Cup, teams load equipment trucks and head south for next season's training.
The Sounders in November devised a workaround: Lose in the conference semifinals. Yes, a bit of a bad look. But after a pair of maximum seasons that reached consecutive MLS Cups, getting a few days away is working out OK.