Preseason expectations are not met as the Seattle Sounders fall to the LA Galaxy in the final match of the season. The result of the loss to the LA Galaxy push them down to 3rd in the West and 7th overall. Essentially, Seattle's season comes down to four games in November and one on December 1st, almost certainly on the road.
In a match that was back-and-forth throughout, with stars scattered throughout the pitch, it was Mike Magee (former emergency keeper) that scored the winner for the LA Galaxy. Both teams started "Ideal XIs." Both sides had their chances at glory. Calls went either way. In the end, it was Magee who changed the game. The loss will push the Seattle Sounders down to 7th overall (only ahead of Houston in the East) and 3rd in the West. It means no backing into the CCL. It means almost no chance of hosting the MLS Cup Final.
It means there is only one thing left for the Sounders. No safety net, just the simple drive for victory in the second season.
There should not be concerns about the offense despite the zero goals scored. Josh Saunders had an amazing game after his controversial yellow card. Seattle had 13 Key Passes (chances) in the match. Eleven of those wound up as shots from inside the penalty area.
It was a match of margins. And percentages. And sometimes when the percentages are in your favor, in this, the beautiful game, you lose. Seattle lost tonight. They lost to an LA team that was beatable. They lost their third best defensive player (best CB) and their best or second best forward. They lost points that should mean the difference between hosting and visiting the MLS Cup Final.
Things could have happened much better on a Sunday night ending the season on national television. It could have meant 2nd in the West and 3rd overall. Instead it is another example of falling short - again.
The second best ever defense by a Seattle MLS team did well to only give up a single goal to LA at home (LA is 4th best at home goals). But there were plenty of opportunities by the Galaxy that could have been more goals. There were also chances at the Sounders having scored.
A misplaced header. A handball on a ball that never touched the hands (why aren't referees able to see from 100% of angles?). A shot of the post. A handball outside of the area by a keeper.
There were chances.
Chances are not goals. Chances don't defeat dragons. Moments of greatness and glory do. Sigi Schmid needs to see just three moments of greatness in the next five matches for the Sounders to meet their goals.
No more blocks. No more mistakes on defense of the counter. No more excuses. No injuries. No couging it. No misapplied claims of historical greatness.
Eleven starters and three subs over five matches can make greatness, can claim history at the top flight, can raise a banner. It will take a performance much greater than tonight. It will take what they've learned from going to DC, hosting the Crew and Fire, from going to Monterrey and hosting Santos Languna.
Let that fire burn in your soul Sounders. The precipice to greatness is there. Five matches stand in your way.
There are no more chances. You've been granted a second season. Write your future now.