Sounders making playoff push with win over Real Salt Lake

SEATTLE —Don’t look now, but the Sounders are suddenly just five points out of the Western Conference playoff qualifying spots after Sunday’s 2-1 win over Real Salt Lake. That gap seems even narrower with a cursory glance at the next portion of the schedule.

They’ve got two games in hand on sixth-place Portland, and they face the Timbers twice in the coming weeks — next weekend at CenturyLink Field and the following Sunday at Providence Park in Portland.

Should the Sounders expand upon an unbeaten streak that now stands at three, they could suddenly find themselves in a very promising position before the stretch run of the season.

As if Sounders-Timbers games didn’t come with enough built-in drama, those matchups could have a defining hand in deciding the West’s final postseason berth when it’s all said and done.

“I will start thinking about them tomorrow,” interim Sounders coach Brian Schmetzer said. “Tonight, I’m going to enjoy this moment. We’re going to live in the moment. I’ll get with my staff tomorrow and we’ll watch the film and then we’ll start pushing toward Portland. But we’re going to enjoy this victory.”

There was no update on Erik Friberg’s status after the Sounders midfielder was wiped out by RSL’s Justen Glad during stoppage time.

“I just had to make sure he was breathing,” Schmetzer said. “After that, I’ll get the report from the guys. I couldn’t tell you.”

Schmetzer did say, though, that Friberg was 100 percent healthy and that Seattle’s 4-2-3-1 is here to stay for at least the “near-future.”

Friberg started Sunday’s match on the bench, while second-year player Cristian Roldan got the start next to Osvaldo Alonso in the Seattle midfield. Andreas Ivanschitz got his second consecutive nod in the line of three next to Lodeiro and Clint Dempsey.