For a while, it didn't look like the Nats would get it done. 70 minutes in, the USMNT had created chances for the fans in Sandy, Utah, but that finishing touch was lacking. Both Brad Evans and Eddie Johnson had chances to be heroes yet again, but neither chance was converted. Finally, the incomparably hot Jozy Altidore (performance-wise, not physically, though now that you mention it...) put away his fourth goal in four National games to give the club a lead and almost guarantee the United States a place in Brazil. (For the record, my contemplation of Altidore's attractiveness earns me one similar comment about a female athlete in the future. That's physics.)
Obafemi Martins has been in a Sounders player for a few months now, and he likes what he sees. Martins declared that MLS "now is one of the best" leagues in the world. High praise coming from a guy who has played in the leagues traditionally considered "among the best".
It doesn't sound like Seattle will need to wait long to see the National Team again; Sunil Gulati talked to Grant Wahl in a lengthy interview and confided that they are very interested in returning to Centurylink Field in the near future.
Lastly in Seattle-centric news, we are really lucky with the coverage our team has received since 2009. This year, we are getting a whole documentary, but that isn't all. You may remember Mike Gastineau, former KJR radio host who stepped away from the microphone a few months ago. Now, he is working on a book detailing the "most successful team launch in sports history". He appears to have a ton of interviews and insider details unfamiliar even to those of us who follow the team closely. Knowing Gastineau, it's going to be even keeled and awesome. He also has a blog, where he posted a few thoughts on the Panama match last week.
The Colorado-San Jose match last weekend contained some fireworks, and not the ones that sports teams use to draw casual fans to the ballpark on hot summer nights. Oscar Pareja will not be allowed on the sideline for the Rapids' midweek game after his antics. (More on that game below)
Houston's Saturday match will be wrought with emotion as the team honors four firefighters that died in a motel fire in May.
NFL Films is quaking in their boots with the announcement of MLS+, a "content distribution group" tasked with making MLS specific content. The first directive is a weekly "magazine show" called "MLS Insider", the first episode of which will debut on Friday on the NBC Sports Network. They will also be producing "MLS 36, the show that follows players for a day and a half before a match (like Fredy Montero last year).
Montreal Impact-Houston Dynamo (Game of the Week-day)
The Impact didn't pull out a victory over the weekend against Columbus, and their attacking engine looked a little old and tired to befit his old and tired body. The three day break probably won't make things any easier for him, notably up against another very good MLS side. I initially picked the Impact for this one, but I'm changing my vote. Houston goes on the road and pulls out a victory up north.
Chicago Fire-Colorado Rapids
The Fire have the advantage of not needing to worry about avoiding a tornado on the way to the stadium. Apparently Colorado gets tornadoes now. Mike Magee is like a golden idol who/which makes the crops around him prosper. So suddenly the Fire aren't terrible, and may be good enough to beat a tired Rapids team.
Vancouver Whitecaps-Chivas USA
The Whitecaps just scored four goals on a very good defensive team. Granted, that team was down a man, but the 'Caps have found their offensive swagger in a big way. Kenny Miller is becoming the player they thought he was, and Camilo is playing as well as anyone in the league. They've got so many goals they don't even need 2012 Offensive Rookie of the Year candidate Darren Mattocks on the field to pull it off. Chivas won't know what hit them when they walk into BC Place.
LA Galaxy-Portland Timbers
The Galaxy will have Robbie Keane and Omar Gonzalez back, but Keane doesn't think his absence explains the woes his club has suffered since leaving for his national team. And he is probably right. Losing 5-0 to the Revolution is hard to explain away with a missing player or two (even when that player is a honey badger). The Galaxy, along with getting key players back, also have a benefit of rest, a key the Portland Timbers do not currently possess. Top that off with travel down the coast, and it is hard to see a Timbers victory.