Right now, The Emerald City is more than rich in Rave Green baubles. Jeremiah said it well: "There really isn't much reason to complain when your team is pulling out results and playing basically every three days." The Sounders have a pair of shutout victories to show for last week's games, having won the two games prior as well. Having recently watched and read a good deal about the Sonics' departure, I wanted to reflect about just how awesome soccer in The Emerald City is right now and how we should treasure it.
May is one of the most jam-packed months of the season. We have already had 6 home games, plus a CCL game at home and another preseason game at home against Mexican competition. The Sounders still have 6 more games to go this month, one of which is the first match of this year's Cascadia Cup. We get to see our team match up against the likes of Landon Donovan, Fredy Adu, Brek Shea, Javier Morales, Sebastien Le Toux, Chad Marshall and Dan Kennedy, all in one month. The schedule is absolutely stuffed, and, as an MLS fan, that is excellent news.
But it's not just the number of games that we can cherish.
The Sounders are playing excellent soccer. The three goals their team has given up this season: two MLS Goal of the Week winners (1, 2) and a PK from a non-attack-related penalty (here). They have also scored enough goals to give them a +1 GD/game ratio, the same rate as San Jose, which is the best in the league. They have scored more goals than 10 other teams. They have done this while 21 players have earned starts, and who would have guessed that David Estrada would be one of the three Sounders players to have started every game so far (the other two are usual suspects Fredy Montero and Osvaldo Alonso).
Speaking of Fredy, just this week he's treated us to a laser-like Goal of the Year candidate, an inch-perfect assist born of uncanny vision and a beautiful curling shot from a standing position that hopefully hit netting in another timeline. It's likely that he's just heating up. And if so, what a season it will be. @Pain_Machine said it best: "@NosAudietis If we look like this before Mauro and Fredy are firing on all cylinders;should we bring a change of shorts in place of a scarf?"
This team looks very strong, and looks capable of winning multiple trophies by the end of the season. They are now first in the MLS by PPM (2.375), and have accomplished this with a myriad of injuries to deal with. Montero is getting into form, Eddie Johnson continues to establish chemistry with the team, the defense is working a very effective rotation, young players are getting valuable experience, Steve Zakuani is still working his way back to health and the team has established a tactical identity that is maximizing the skills of all the players on the pitch. A Supporters Shield is a realistic proposition, the Starting XI (whoever they might be) are strong enough to succeed in any knock-out competition. It will be exciting to watch them grow as the season progresses, culminating (hopefully) with a deep MLS Cup run.
And it's not just the men's team that is here to be excited about. The Sounders Women are just about to embark upon the season, fresh off a 3-1 preseason win over UW. The Sounders Women played before 4,500, and the actual in-season crowds will likely be as good or better. The team is stacked with national teamers, who came here for love of the game, and is rounded out with a strong group of young women who should be nearly as entertaining to watch while the stars are away. They even have their own independent supporters group, Jet City Auxiliary!
Sherman Alexie, in the film Sonicsgate, talks about what the Seattle Supersonics meant to him and the city. Responding to the question of how winters are now without the team, he gets noticeably upset, before conceding, "Not easy . . . ." Now, I do not expect the Sounders to ever leave, but I notice that it is mostly the season itself Alexie is missing. As Sounders fans, we are in the thick of it now. The games are often, and they are a joy to watch. They are a perfect compliment to summer, a team that possesses the beauty that this region's sunny months are known for. Yet, they are also a team that can express the dreariness the winter and rainy months are infamous for.
We have an embarrassment of riches, all in Rave Green. Treasure them.