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Stories aren't often written where you have to count on one antagonist to succeed while the other antagonist fails and the protagonist sits aside and waits for that contest to resolve. That is exactly the tale that must take place for the Sounders to win the Cascadia Cup.
There were goals scored tonight in front of 66,452. Depending on who you ask the first goal was scored by either Fredy Montero or it was an own goal by Danso or Dike (both are named at different points in the unofficial recap). Goal number two was more clear - Eddie Johnson from Brad Evans after some great movement and passing from Hurtado. Goal three is also somewhat contested. Fredy Montero is currently credited, but one could again argue an own goal.
You know what no one could argue? Seattle won. They didn't just win, they dominated. The Seattle Sounders took another massive crowd and used it as motivation for an important victory. The Portland Timbers used another road game to show ineffective play. Particularly in the first half when the Sounders had an advantage of 6 to 3 in key passes plus assists.
It is a result that keeps the Sounders alive in the Cascadia Cup and power them to a 3rd place standing in the Western Conference. That third place in the Conference is within their own control. It is also an opportunity to capture as high as second in the league wide standings though that will not be in their control.
While the game stats will be in Portland's favor, that is a clear byproduct of the Sounders scoring early. It is a case of "one goal changes everything." The Sounders scored that goal and could fold back. Though they didn't. Instead they kept attacking. They kept pressing.
Seattle used high pressure, forcing errors. They were mobile and dynamic. In fact Sounders centerbacks were perfect passers in the opposing half. Portland? They were merely 2 for 3 in run of play, all in the second half.
The Sounders used dummies quite frequently to open up attacks. This confidence in their teammates showed Seattle at its best. It was about team, not self. The willingness to trust the Rave Green to succeed, sometimes without knowing where the teammate was, is about playing with each other.
This was the first time in 2012 that one lineup had been used in back to back matches.
It is a familiarity that will not be available for the next league match. But it is a familiarity that will be available for the final two matches of the season and for the MLS Cup Playoffs.
Seattle does not command the Cascadia Cup, though they retain it until the final match between the Timbers and Whitecaps. They do command their destiny in the Western Conference.
The 2012 season sits on the precipice. The Sounders are a cresting wave sitting on the verge of taking greatness. Just outside of the CONCACAF Champions League and Cascadia Cup they will be watching the scoreboards of every game for the rest of the season. They will also be able to power themselves for the opportunity to host the MLS Cup.
All it took was 14 players, their coaches and 65,000 Sounders fans to show MLS, the USA and some silly town that claims authenticity that there is a soccer city. It is Seattle. Here there are goals, there are fans, there is national recognition of greatness, there is empowerment, there is a club that welcomes you into the fold.