Though much is taken, much abides; and though
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven; that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.
Excerpt from Ulysses - Lord Alfred Tennyson
I won't lie. I didn't expect a Seattle Sounders victory on Saturday when they traveled North to play the Vancouver Whitecaps. Given the short-handed lineup Sigi Schmid would be forced to play against a very dangerous, and very fast Whitecaps, I was hoping for a draw, but I prepared myself for the worst.
When I first caught wind that Chad Marshall wouldn't be suiting up, I mentally steeled myself for a potential drubbing. Do 5-0 losses feel as bad when you expect to lose badly? The starting XI featured six players who weren't with Seattle last season in Kenny Cooper, Chad Barrett, Jalil Anibaba, Stefan Frei, Gonzalo Pineda, and Marco Pappa. Needless to say, I was much relieved when Seattle didn't lose, though they could have lost. However, Vancouver must feel that they too could have lost this game. It's a funny game, soccer, in which both teams can feel fortunate to not have lost but also unfortunate to not have won.
As it stands, Seattle is still in first place in MLS, but also in the Cascadia Cup standings. Might this be the year when all games featuring the trio of Seattle, Vancouver, and Portland are all draws? We know how all six matches featuring Portland will end up, so really it's up to the final two between Seattle and Vancouver.
It's a business in the front, party in the back kind of bullet
- Stefan Frei had another Freitmare, and it was pretty heinous. I have no idea what was going through his head, but he needs to understand that he's not playing for Toronto anymore. This is the big leagues now. But the whole thing makes no sense. Why was he chasing the ball in the first place? To make sure it didn't go out for a corner? Why did he kick it back across the goal, which is something you're taught never to do? Why did he one time it? Frei is the type of goalie who will make some great saves in a game, but then make such a boneheaded play that it costs your team a point. I wonder what Marcus Hahnemann had to say about that play.
- Vancouver started the game white-hot, pedal to the metal. But from 8:42 until 9:58, the Sounders maintained possession following the constant offensive deluge by the Whitecaps. They strung together 28 consecutive passes in which all 11 Sounders players touched the ball. This possession changed the mood of the game and allowed Seattle to settle down, getting them off their heels and back into making this a competitive match, instead of the How-Many-Goals-Can-Vancouver-Score match that it was at the beginning.
- In the 16th minute, Leo Gonzalez tried to shield the ball from Erik Hurtado, who came in hard with his boot up, catching the Costa Rican on the ankle. Referee Ismail Elfath called over Sebastian Fernandez to give him a stern warning. Pedro Morales came to Fernandez's aid and was like, "It wasn't him, it was Hurtado." Then Hurtado came over and said, "It wasn't him, it was me." Impressive that anybody could be mistaken for Hurtado with that awful hair of his.
- There was a scrum following an incident in the 50th minute where Whitecaps coach Carl Robinson came out of his coach's box and between him and Pineda couldn't decide whose should hold the ball for a throw-in. Referee Ismail Elfath decided he'd allow the players to sort it out themselves, which is not good officiating. I wonder if there's a mandate for referees to allow the Cascadia games to be allowed more leeway. There were a lot of late tackles that went uncarded.
- Odd coincidence, both Vancouver goals contained a moment of hand-ball. On the turnover that sprung Vancouver for their first goal, Hurtado intercepted an Osvaldo Alonso pass by running right at the midfielder with his arms in front of his body. The pass went straight into Hurtado's arms, who quickly gathered it, turned, and passed to Fernandez to start the counter. As for Gershon Koffee, his chest trap definitely hit his hand. As he chested it down it immediately bounced off his arm. I don't think it affected the play whatsoever or impacted Koffee's ability to one-time shoot it. But both of those handballs Elfath had a good look at and deemed them not foul worthy.
How about some Fernandez face-kicks to take us home
- Missing from Sounders lineup was 13 goals and 8 assists.
- The fact that Gershon Koffee got treatment after he was carded for diving is just so silly. I don't think he was injured, just that he was trying to add evidence into his, "see, I really did get fouled," case.
- There were a couple times in the game when Ross Fletcher called Vancouver's attackers "Merchants of Speed." That kind of makes it sound like they're drug dealers.
- It's nice see that Nigel Reo-Coker overcame his horrific bicycle-rack injury. Now we can all go on to living normal lives without needing to fear those metal monsters.
- The Vancouver Whitecap have a mascot.
- I wonder how many Vancouver fans in attendance on Saturday are also Mariners and Seahawks fans.
- Combined age of Seattle's starting defenders was 125 years.
Frankly, my dear, I don't GIF a damn
Cascadia Cup Rivalry Game!
Wait, no Chad Marshall?
This is going to be a long day.
Oh! A goal! Okay, I'll take it!
Well that lead didn't last long.
I really don't like that Hurtado kid.
I am not impressed.
That just sucks.
It's pretty obvious Frei was already thinking about what he'd do after the game.
Ha! Penalty kick!
What a cheeky little goal.
Okay, we each get a point. I'll take it.
This game went better than I expected.