It wasn't that long ago that Head Coach Sigi Schmid opined to the press after another disappointing Sounders performance. Some players were hot at certain times while others were streaking at others. It was an issue of consistency, an issue of concentration. An issue of teamwork.
Today, the Sounders had that complete game Sigi was looking for. Coach Schmid would never say as much, but this team played almost as well as they possibly could have played. It was that sharpness, that edge that allowed them to beat the San Jose Earthquakes for the first time in five meetings.
Lamar Neagle is an easy player to point to for Man of the Match. Two goals on the sheet and otherworldly hold up play made some people wonder whether Obafemi Martins was even necessary. Until Martins reintroduced himself with his first home goal in a Sounders uniform. Rosales was the other goal-scorer on a (insert superlative here) free kick to the near post that even vintage Kasey Keller may have had issues with (he also had a wide open header shot that went wide).
But despite not finding his name in the goals column, Eddie Johnson's performance was at another level from the consistent goal-scorer we've become accustomed to. He unlocked the defense many a time, allowing the rest of the offense to dominate.
Other players had key performances, including perhaps Servando Carrasco's best game as a pro. Brad Evans caused problems along the left flank. Djimi Traore was where chances went to die. Everyone that started and everyone that entered as a reserve contributed. This was a complete team performance, and it bodes so, so well for the future.
The Sounders are now two points out of a playoff spot in the Western Conference with three games in hand (not including games being played tonight). Next up is Dallas, the table toppers, who host DC United tonight.
On a final note, there were a number of fans and bloggers (myself included) that thought a few weeks ago that Mauro Rosales may be done as a pro.
I have never been so wrong. (Bilbo hug)