If you wouldn't mind, please excuse the following piece of profanity, because
That about sums up the last 20-plus minutes of what we saw on Monday night. Holy shit. How many times did we get out of jail, with a player flinging his body in front of a goal-bound shot, or a tame effort falling right to Stefan Frei (who, it must be said once again, thoroughly deserved his MOTM honors)? I lost count. I just know it was too many. There were moments in the last 10-15 minutes on Monday that I couldn't watch - I crouched, I turned towards the people behind me ... I'm not proud of this, but this is a safe space, right? We can be honest with each other here. I wasn't certain we were going to make it through, but we did. And that's all that matters.... Right?
Well, truth be told, I'm a little frustrated with how these games played out. It never should have been this close. The number of times we created clear-cut scoring opportunities over two legs and didn't convert them is enough to make you tear your hair out. Thankfully, the back five bailed us out, and somehow, we're through. I may have nearly had a medical emergency in the process, but we're through.
And yet... I can't help but feel that we're in for a really rough time against LA. Yeah, yeah, yeah, sports pessimist and all that, but hear me out. First, and most obviously, the loss of Ozzie Alonso is absolutely massive. It can't be understated how huge a blow losing him is. He's arguably our most important player, in a position that's absolutely crucial against a side as strong as the Galaxy. Thankfully, central midfield is probably our deepest position, and I have faith that Andy Rose, Micheal Azira, and/or Brad Evans can do an admirable job alongside Gonzalo Pineda in the center of the pitch. While we're on the subject, I thought Azira did exactly what he had to do in his cameo last night, and was very good. In any case, I am praying to every available deity that Alonso's hamstring issue is just a tweak, and a few weeks off will see him able to play on the 23rd. Sigi seems to think this is the case, I'm less optimistic.
My other concern is just how profligate we were in front of goal against FC Dallas. We had a number of real chances that, for one reason or another, went begging. We simply have to put those chances away to have a chance of advancing to the MLS Cup Final. Dempsey and Martins were both guilty, and both have to be more clinical in front of goal, unless somebody else sees fit to contribute. We got out of jail due to the fact that Dallas were seemingly incapable of getting a decent effort on target in the run of play, and I'm not sure LA will be so generous.
I have a fair amount of hope that we're going to make it to the final. The Sounders showed they can go toe to toe with LA at the end of the season, and I see no reason that can't continue. Current MLS Cup optimism level: 7/10.