Sounders v Toronto FC - Aftermatch Aftermath: Maple Leaf Mishap

And he ran around with the ball like that for hours. - Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

Toronto FC celebrated their victory over Seattle like it was their first victory in years. Wait, what, you're saying that was their first victory in years? Oh, okay, I guess it's whatever then.

Before us great Death stands

Our fate held close within his quiet hands.

When with proud joy we lift Life's red wine

To drink deep of the mystic shining cup

And ecstasy through all our being leaps-

Death bows his head and weeps.

  • "Death," Rainer Maria Rilke

Buck up, ol' chap, my friends. Loss is a reality in which we must all live. Whatever forms it comes in makes it no less hard, yet still we power on. Life persists. Dawn will come promising a brighter future.

When I came home from the game on Saturday, I went straight to the DVR. Might as well get the re-watching over with, since I knew it wouldn't be comfortable. But lo, what did I find? Paralympics Curling? Oh NBCSN, you jokesters, you tricked me into DVRing three hours of something I didn't know existed. What clever way to bring in new viewers. This meant I'd have to relive the game hours later, after I had some time to bury my head in the sand and watch more pleasant fare like the Red Wedding or Finding Bigfoot. Curious, does anybody watch Game of Thrones and find themselves rooting for the Lannisters? That'd be like watching any game involving San Jose and saying, "Golly, I like this Earthquake style football."

Well, eventually I DVR'd a replay and watched the game. I still found myself saying things like, "Oh come on!" or "preposterous!" if I was feeling eloquent, even though I'd already lived through the experiences live. But a record-tying 25 Toronto FC fouls, and no Jackson yellow cards, later the result was still the same, a Seattle Sounders loss, their first of the year. I'd say that scrimmage against the UW Huskies would count but it was played in monsoon and monsoon-games only count when they're played in Philly.

But not all hope is lost. Seattle struggled mightily to unlock Toronto's bunch-style defense in the first half whilst simultaneously showing an inability to contain Toronto's quick counter. It was frustrating indeed throughout the first half, while the second half allowed Seattle a lot more opportunities to put the ball on net. Though through seemingly 40 straight minutes of constant pressure, the Sounders only scored one goal. Shoulda coulda woulda.

Toronto hadn't rolled out that lineup ever before, so Seattle really didn't know what to expect, yet they still planned accordingly. If the show House of Cards has taught me anything, it's that sometimes even the best laid plans can go wrong, yet you take your punches and power on. Anyway...

Let's make like Steve McQueen and Bullitt

  • How Jackson played 93 minutes in this game and didn't get a yellow card is beyond me. That man is a Brian Mullan tackle waiting to happen. I completely empathize with David Ferreira and his face-punching decision. I counted six hard fouls by Jackson (5th, 19th, 45th, 45th, 58th, and 87th minutes), three of which were obvious yellows in my book. Yet Osvaldo Alonso gets a yellow for a tackle that didn't make contact?
  • It's obvious there were some complaints to be made regarding the officiating, but I cannot for the life of me see how head referee Ioannis Stavrides deemed Lamar Neagle to have committed a foul against Mark Bloom. Bloom had hooked an arm underneath Neagle's and proceeded to pull him down. Foul on Neagle. Truly bewildering.
  • Speaking of that it-should've-been-a-penalty-since-Bloom-was-hooking-Neagle-and-pulled-him-down-in-the-box play, can we acknowledge that amazing pass Alonso made to spring Neagle? He was 30 yards away from half and put a ball on the spot, which Neagle beautifully trapped with his chest at full speed. Gorgeous.
  • Brad Evans injured his calf early in the first half. After receiving treatment he stood on the sideline waiting for the official to wave him on. While waiting Alonso committed a foul in Seattle's end. Play stops. I note the time on the clock, 15:57. Toronto doesn't restart play until 16:10, thirteen seconds later. Referee Stavrides doesn't wave Evans on until 16:12, who then hobbles his way to get back into position. Meanwhile Marco Pappa slides over to cover for Evans, and then proceeds to provide a poor clearance, over-commit on an attempted tackle, which allowed Jonathan Osorio time to pick out Jermaine Defoe for Toronto's first goal. I have to think if Evans was allowed on the field earlier, say when the 4th Official first started indicating he was ready before Alonso committed the foul, even if Evans is still hurt, he doesn't over-commit on Osorio's trap, which forces the midfielder to play it out wide, instead of forward to Defoe. But because he was kept on the sidelines for an unnecessarily long time, Pappa was there instead. One bad clearance, one ill-advised lunge when a contained buffer would've sufficed, and one Defoe shot later, Seattle's losing.
  • Oh Pappa, oh Pappa, where was that backpass to? If you said Defoe you're half right. If you said nobody you're mostly right. That was dumb. Two bad mistakes by Pappa lead to two goals in a matter of minutes, and Toronto capitalized on it for a 2-0 lead. However, within the first 10 minutes of the game Julio Cesar had miskicked two goal-kicks leading to two quick breakaways, and Michael Bradley turned the ball over right to Pappa at their own 18. Seattle didn't capitalize.
  • For all the passing around and trying to break down Toronto's defense, Seattle looked most threatening on quick breaks, whether it was on the counter, a through ball, or an over the top ball.
  • Dylan Remick was made to look the fool in the first half, getting beat a couple times on one-on-ones, where Toronto was able to run the ball down the field and get some shots. Juxtapose the ease of creating those opportunities for Toronto with Seattle's forcing ineffectual crosses into the box. However, Remick recovered, making a few stops later in the half, and in the second half even contributed some on offense with dangerous runs and crosses. A mixed bag game, but he made his adjustments.
  • I was surprised to see Neagle get the start over Kenny Cooper. How did Neagle reward Sigi with that decision? I counted 8 turnovers in the first 21 minutes; again, within the first 21 minutes eight attacks ended directly because of Neagle's decisions. He settled down a bit after that, whipped in a few dangerous crosses and set pieces, but when the game was 0-0 and Seattle was in the game, Neagle was where the attacks went to die.

Some Jackson reckless hits to take us home

  • After an upending by Jackson, Clint Dempsey finds himself on the turf. Osorio offers him a hand-up, and Clint looks at Osorio like he just farted in Clint's meringue, then mouths "nah fuck (blank)" which the cameras catch the first two words. I'm presuming the final word is "no" or "you" but I just had to laugh. Toronto's playing good-cop-bad-cop with Jackson knocking everybody over, and then Osorio comes in, "I'm sorry man, he didn't mean it, you look nice today." Deuce ain't falling for that nonsense.
  • Halfway through the second half, Alonso tackled Osorio after the whistle had been blown for a separate foul. Osorio completed a two-and-a-half overly dramatic dramatization roll to show how hurt he truly was. Then DeAndre Yedlin walked right toward the woeful Torontoan, took one large step over his body and kept on going. I love this kid.
  • The Sounders have lost three out of the last four games in which the Canadian National Anthem is sung at Century Link Field.
  • There were times on Saturday where I legitimately lamented about how I wish the regular MLS referees were back. I hate them for putting me in that position.
  • It's funny to me how while watching the game in person I became convinced Toronto committed at least two blatant handballs in their own box, however whilst watching on TV I saw none. Did my absence of hope knowing we were going to lose make me not care enough to notice? Did my in-the-moment-of-passion distort what I actually saw and convinced me we were being wronged?
  • I thought Gonzola Pineda looked very good out there. Once he gets his fitness up, it'll be nice seeing him work on the field. His deep-lying playmaking is pretty apparent.
  • This was the first I noticed that the Captain's Arm Band is of the 40th Anniversary design. That's a nice touch.
  • Saw Mike Russell a few times on the broadcast. I waved at the TV. He didn't wave back.

Stay tuned for next week when Seattle plays another Canadian team I never think about. Have fun in Montreal, boys. Make us proud.

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