The promised rapture came and went on Saturday with no appreciable signs of impending doom. Of course, there are probably some Sporting Kansas City fans who see it a little differently after Jeff Parke scored a stoppage-time goal to give the Seattle Sounders a 1-0 win. It was the second straight time that SKC had lost at Qwest on a late score.
That it was Parke, who last scored a MLS goal on June 12, 2004, may just be a sign that the apocalypse is nigh, after all. When asked if Parke was the least likely player on the Sounders to score a game-winning goal, Tyson Wahl could only offer two other contenders.
"Maybe myself ... or Kasey," said Wahl, who acknowledged that Sounders coach Sigi Schmid had actually called out Parke recently, asking him when was the last time he scored on a corner. "So, it's pretty ironic that he scored, pretty funny."
The decisive play took a little longer to develop than normal. It started when a ball went out of bounds on the endline and there was some confusion about it being a corner kick or a throw in. Roger Levesque, in fact, first threw in the ball, which referee Geoff Gamble immediately whistled dead and called for the corner. The play was further delayed when Gamble got between Parke and Roger Espinoza, who had been exchanging words. Finally, Wahl took the kick and Parke floated his shot to the far post, completely turning around what was promising to be another frustrating night at Qwest.
"I told him, 'You've been holding onto me all night,' and he said 'No, I haven't, no I haven't,'" Parke said of his conversation with Espinoza. "See, this is what happens when you don't hold onto me. I can actually get up off the ground and do something."
While the win was certainly exciting, it would be a mistake to take too much away from it. Last year's similarly dramatic win over Kansas City was followed be a run of matches in which the Sounders won just 2 of 10. In this one, the Sounders put just two shots on goal, never really threatened SKC goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen until the very end and struggled to turn their possession advantage into any kind of cohesive attack. Credit Peter Vermes with coming out with a defensive posture, but feel free to openly wonder whether or not this team has been stretched too thin from an offensive standpoint.
In the meantime, though, let's try to enjoy this one. At the very least, if you're reading this that means you weren't called away. For those of us at Qwest, those final few moments at least felt like heaven on earth.
"Can we play better? Yes," Schmid said. "Do we like the three points? Yes."