Defining Moments In American Soccer

Defining moments are about more than great wins. They are about establishing or shifting power in new ways.

On Leap Year Day 2012 the United States won a game against Italy for the first time, on its 11th try. But it was just a friendly. It is not a win that people will remember for ages. For all the glory of Landon Donovan's goal in the 2010 World Cup, it has not defined US soccer. There are a few defining moments.

For MLS, the defining moment was probably the first ever game and the goal by Eric Wynalda. For the US Women, probably Brandi Chastain's score. For the US men, the moment became a meme. That moment is Dos A Cero. A two-nil win over Mexico on American soil in a game that matters.

Dos a Cero was a tribute to the fans. A golden ticket for those who waited to have their team reach the potential that so many knew existed. They say that every journey has a first step. This win in a World Cup qualifier was what Concacaf needed: a change in venue.

It is a chant of victory. Starting in 2001, it carried on in World Cup Qualifying in 2005 and 2009 - all in Columbus, Ohio. The men repeated it in the 2002 World Cup and a friendly in Arizona. It was repeated yesterday when the two nations' U23 sides met.

For a young MLS team like Seattle Sounders FC, the defining moment can be argued. It probably has something to do with one of three Open Cups, or maybe the 2009 opening night win. It was not the win in Monterrey. Nor was FC Dallas' win in Mexico just prior a defining moment. There was a shift in power, but not significantly so.

Real Salt Lake had their opportunity. They fell just a bit short. MLS4RSL trended. It was popular, but it was not victory.

Next Wednesday night the Sounders have the opportunity to establish a defining moment. Repeating dos a cero at home against Santos Laguna would go a long way to do that. They just two-nil'd a strong side on the new Turf at CenturyLink.

Do that again and they are set-up to advance. No away goal allowed and a +2 on aggregate would be tough to beat. There's a tiny sample but Seattle is an even 1-1 and 0 GD in CCL play in Mexico. In all six matches against FMF sides they are 3-3 with a +2. Sure, friendlies and competitive matches mixed together.

To say there's a chance would be underplaying it. There is opportunity. Dos a cero at home of Santos wouldn't be a huge ground shaking win. It would merely set Seattle up to do much more.

Quotes from Jaguares players Wednesday's game indicate the quality of the Sounders side.

They don't just give big kicks to the front, they really try to get many players to touch the ball. They played us really closely to stop our play. It was a good match for both teams.
Well it's a team that plays really well in Seattle. I had not seen it before so it surprised me a little bit, they are a dynamic team. The big change was the first goal, with the first goal they opened the spaces and changed the game. Our team had an opportunity before, but it was a good game for the crowd.

And just maybe they need a little help from the weather, as in previous dos a cero matches.

The temperature can definitely affect gameplay, these are conditions we are not used to playing in.

The US Men had a decade where they held their own with Mexico. For club teams that isn't true. Maybe Dallas and Seattle opened a crack last year in the CCL. On Wednesday night the Sounders have the opportunity to blow that crack wide open.

You have the opportunity to be there.

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