Despite the Sounder's sterling record against the Fire of Chicago, matches between the two teams have always had a good little spark there. (HAH.) That culminated last year with the US Open Cup, a thoroughly decisive win that upped the ante for all future matches.
The Sounders battled and came out of Bridgeview with what felt like a decisive victory. But tempers were running hot (AGAIN! I'm ON......FIRE!) and stoppage time of Saturday's "Battle in Chicago" (not the same ring to it) resulted in a number of... let's call them incidents for now. There's a lot of he-said she-said going on, and it's a little tough to know what's true and what's the Timbers Army influence (ever going to live that down? Probably not).
- Gonzalo Segares took up what now appears to be becoming a tradition of trying to make Mauro Rosales permanently disabled. Each of Mauro's previous three matches had been called short by notably poor tackles, and Segare's were no exception. A yellow card was easily warranted. I don't want to be in favor of special protection for notable players, but when teams start targeting them, the referee has to do something. Even if that means giving immediate yellows for tackles that are borderline.
- Jalil Anibaba took a two-footed slide at Leo Gonzalez that was probably worth a card, but he didn't receive a red until continuing shenanigans in the following tussle. I felt bad about misspelling your name on the match card before, but not now. Now you shall forever be known as Anibala. TAKE THAT.
- Eddie Johnson allegedly swore at fans in Section 8 at one point. I'm not sure what the context was, or if he even is guilty of the accusation, but if he is, it's not something I'm okay with. However, if they're just being chicken-ish, calling him a m-er f-er and then being offended when he returns it, then fine. Athletes take a lot of verbal abuse, and I'd rather they express it that way than pull a Ron Artest. And I think the handful of fans in the stands would prefer Johnson didn't hop into the stands as well. Though, instead of going straight for the target, he'd probably run off to the side while doing some fancy but ineffectual right-stick maneuvers.
- Johnson also was kind of an ass coming off the field in stoppage time, which likely resulted in the crazy amount of time added by Michael Kennedy. I hate this sort of gamesmanship. It's not Sounders soccer. It doesn't help the team. And this time, it clearly HURT the team.
- Brad Evans was allegedly slapped in the face by a Fire player. Brad accepted the challenge, and proceeded to win the ensuing duel at ten paces (it was supposed to be five paces, but Michael Kennedy was in charge of the duel).
- John Kennedy Hurtado allegedly tried to strangle a Fire player, the way Toronto was allegedly a playoff team this year (hearts go out to loyal TFC fans for the sixth year in a row). There's a Fire blog out there that has "photographic evidence", but review of the game tape makes it clear that John "teddy bear" Hurtado was doing nothing of the sort. Taking a picture of a half-second event and declaring it evidence of a crime committed is equivalent to Fox News taking audio of Obama quoting Bin Laden and running the headline "Obama 'wants the death of all Americans'".
- Frank Klopas was also suspended for a few games for "language". Not sure what language he was speaking, or why he'll be missing two games for it, but I can only assume he was speaking in "Exoricst"-style tongues, and Kennedy believed in his heart that showing him a card would make it stop. Wait, do referees show coaches cards?
I think that's everything, though I could be wrong. The cards that were given were mostly warranted, though another for those tackles on Rosales would have been nice. Too bad more people didn't see it in person. I mean, I always figured wind in Chicago was like rain in Seattle; not something that would keep fans away from the game. Then again, if both my winter teams were out of the playoffs (let's face it, the Bulls aren't going anywhere without Rose) I'd probably want to stay home too.
*as always, this post was made in jest, and doesn't contain any content worth getting offended and/or butthurt about. If you take offense to anything written here or plan on making blanket conclusions about my green-wearing compatriots, kindly write it on a hundred dollar bill and sent to *address redacted by The Offside*.