After last night's results in the Group Stage of the 2012-13 CONCACAF Champions League the Sounders will face UANL Tigres, also known as "the other team from Monterrey."
In the next six months, the Sounders will make runs at two major trophies they have not won. Yet. To get there, they will merely have to face every club from this region that can claim to be better than they. Like a hero on a quest to return a city's lost treasure, each beast will be more difficult than the last. They will have to Kill All The Dragons.
It starts this Sunday with the historical best of Southern California. These desert denizens are filled with glory. They hold treasure and are a creature with three expensive heads, all breathing lightning. Though weakened through injury and beaten twice on the year, this preparatory contest is such that a loss will not end the quest, but a win can inspire our heroes.
Next week, nestled in the Wasatch Range is the next dragon on the journey. That dragon took treasure in the lands of the Sound. It ended attempts at claiming a second chalice in 2011. Claret and Cobalt in color, it is organized and thoughtful, prepared to take points through quick strikes from the back.
If the adventure is to continue, the wyrm of Kezar will likely be back. It has struck against the fair people of Seattle four times and only once did the Sounders hold them off. It was a single slap that day that did the wyrm in, but its power can shake the Earth and its clawed fist can appear out of nowhere like a ghost. The fight will be tough, but it is a fight that is familiar.
When last they met under skies of fiery rain, the Wizards of the Split City outlasted the men in green. Nary a moment went by that either side lost hope of a victory. A spell was cast on the Greens' man in yellow and, when he could not stop the fateful blow that resulted, the treasure was lost. On December First, just prior to a winter of recovery, there could be a chance to claim a chalice even greater, one more widely coveted throughout the land. Should the men in green face those Wizards again to claim that chalice, it will be under those same skies of fiery rain, a fitting symmetry to cap one phase of the quest.
The winter's rest will be important for the Men of the Sound. The quest for grand glory, the greatest of Cups held on the continent will begin, and again it is beasts that have kept Emerald City from holding its rightful place among the world's elite.
It begins with a trip to The City of Mountains and another look at Cerra de la Silla. It is the lesser of the two creatures in the region: a mere Tigre. A Tigre from the Southern Lands is a dangerous beast. It has fight and spunk and is powered through competing against the mighty of the South.
Again, expectations could change, but the Warriors stand next in the way. These Green and White dragons live amongst rivers in the Comarca Lagunera. Breathing acid, they defend their lands with strength; their willingness to absorb damage once grant our heroes hope, but then, lulled into safety, the heroes from the Sound took hit after hit after hit after hit after hit after hit, and left wounded and early from the most recent journey towards international glory. To defeat this dragon, the Men of the Sound must needs find increased fortitude to survive the leg of the journey away from home.
Then the Gang of Blue and White would await. Not just a single dragon, but a collective of striped ones that have twice held the Cup. At their feet lay the Claret and Cobalt, the Rave Green, the Canaries, the Pumas, the Green and White, the Dragons of Costa Rica, the Red Devils, the Celestial Machine and many lesser creatures. They come at you from multiple angles, ripping with claws, gnashing with teeth and battering with their wings. They sit with the Cup in their cavern. Victory over this collection will take guile, skill and fair fortune.
Six months and a menagerie of beasts guard two Cups from the Sounders' chest of trophies. They will need to beat the very beasts they have fallen to before. Quite simply, the Blue and the Green must Kill All The Dragons.