On a night like Saturday's, it's easy to forget all the tough times the Sounders have been through in 2013. There have been injuries, there have been poor calls, there have been bad finishes, and there has been quite a large helping of terrible luck. But in this particular 3-0 win, Seattle's Major League Soccer team looked almost perfect, without any measure of change or upgrade needed.
Wow, we managed to write an entire introductory paragraph without mentioning Clint Dempsey.
Simply stepping into the stadium on this day was much like entering a preschool where the lunch menu consists of Mountain Dew and Smarties. The energy level was off the chart long before the players took the field, and it was because of one man, and the Night's Watch that pursued him for the better part of a week. Dempsey didn't play, but he played a big role in this win, affecting the match in a way unique in his career. He got the ball rolling, the team took that ball, and they deposited it in the back of the net. Three fold.
They did it twice in his honor, and once more as a bonus.
The combined offensive might of the Sounders' existing team did the rest. Mauro Rosales delivered a free kick that Obafemi Martins flipped backwards into the net. Brad Evans led Eddie Johnson beautifully past a flat defensive line for the second goal. finally, in stoppage time, Lamar Neagle earned a penalty that Evans converted without issue. There were flames, there were goals, there were tacos.
If the Sounders had been playing like this consistently the last two months, they may not have brought in Clint Dempsey at all. But what fun would that have been?
The defense did its job too, keeping old man Hahnemann in his rocker. The keeper had almost nothing to do all night, a fact to which he can credit his defense.
This match will forever be remembered as the day we got Clint Dempsey. But it should also offer us a look at how good a team Deuce is joining. This is no Henry to Red Bulls. It might not even be Beckham to Galaxy. This may be beyond what MLS has seen. Exciting times are ahead.