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Sounders v LA - Aftermatch Aftermath: Up against the wall

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The Seattle Sounders and LA Galaxy used Sunday's 1st leg MLS Cup Playoff game between them to determine practically nothing, just that Seattle must win next Sunday in order to advance to their first MLS Cup Final. Anything less will end their season.

Stefan Frei reacts after being awarded a ceremonial sash
Stefan Frei reacts after being awarded a ceremonial sash
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

A Sunday playoff game was played, featuring the LA Galaxy and the Seattle Sounders. But you all know that. You all know that LA defeated Seattle 1-0 in the first leg of the Western Conference Finals. You all know that Seattle didn't score an away goal. You all know that come this Sunday, the Sounders' season will either be over or that we'll all be scrambling to buy tickets to the biggest soccer game of our lives. That's what is on the line.

Nothing much was decided on Sunday. We already knew Robbie Keane is a bit of a whiny-and-shouty diva. We already knew Zach Scott pushes the line between aggressive and holy-hell-how-didn't-he-get-a-second-yellow. We already knew Bruce Arena is kind of a douche. We already knew Omar Gonzalez likes to complain about referees. We already knew that the only way LA can score against Seattle is by luck. What we didn't know is how Seattle would represent themselves without Osvaldo Alonso. What we didn't know was whether Seattle would have one of its historic blowups in the playoffs and render the return leg moot.

But now we know. A 1-0 deficit isn't a big deal. An away goal would've been huge, but now the Sounders must win a game in order to advance to their first ever MLS Cup Finals; they can't draw their way to a championship. The last time LA played a playoff game in Seattle, it was a Sounders victory 2-1, which, thanks to the away goals rule, would see LA through.

LA expects to win. To them, losing to Seattle just isn't possible, not for the great and powerful Galaxy. Entitlement runs rich through their blood. But we shall strive to set their blood cold, to curdle. They have their defenders, their guardians, but let's do what Ronan could not and lets defeat the Galaxy. The stage is set.

So let's shut out LA, shall we? Thanks! Let's make Sunday Landon Donovan's final game ever. Let's have #LegenD walk off the field, defeated, met only by derision and gleeful laughter at his failure. At home, backs against the wall, the Sounders have availed themselves well in the past. Let's do it again. MLS Cup or Bust. #hellagreedy #nthdegreedy

If you've seen Interstellar recently or watched John Cena's WWE 2k15 commercial, no doubt you've heard the words of Dylan Thomas ringing through your head, and I find it rather apt in this moment. The season truly is on the line, along with MLS immortality. The history books will remember the victor of the MLS Cup. No matter how spectacular the Sounders did in securing the Supporter's Shield and the US Open Cup, if they come home empty handed from these playoffs, they'll be a footnote, forgotten.

Do not go gentle into that good night,

Old age should burn and rage at close of day;

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,

Because their words had forked no lightning they

Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright

Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,

And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,

Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight

Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,

Curse, bless me now with your fierce tears, I pray.

Do not go gentle into that good night.

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Dylan Thomas - 1951

This is our time. This is our moment. This is where heroes are born and legends are made. At home, in front of thousands of full-throated fans screaming for glory, screaming for victory, the Sounders have a decision to make. Do they accept defeat against a worthy foe? Or do they rage, rage against the dying of the light?

A Few Bullet Points

  • I find it fitting all the complaining we're hearing from out of LA regarding the refereeing, especially coming from Omar Gonzalez, who should've seen yellow from a first-half tackle made on Clint Dempsey. Omar could've actually seen red there, so being a beneficiary of referee Kevin Stott's unwillingness to suspend players for the second leg should have Omar consider shutting his mouth.
  • I'm surprised how little fuss I've seen made about the fact that Tommy Meyer made a tackle on Obafemi Martins in about the 1st or 2nd minute that should've been a penalty. Meyer didn't get anywhere close to the ball and clearly took Oba out. But, again, Stott was the referee, whose laziness precludes him from making any calls that aren't within 10 yards of the center circle.
  • Though I don't wish injury upon anybody, I found it amusing that Marcelo Sarvas pulled up injured after complaining to the referee. He wasn't hurt before complaining, but magically he was hurt after complaining.
  • The results based analyst in my brain wants to freak out a bit about the fact that the Sounders can't seemingly score in these playoffs, but Seattle was unlucky not to score at least one goal on Sunday, as Jaime Penedo made two point-blank I-have-no-idea-what-I'm-doing saves to prevent a Seattle goal. As Sigi has said, as long as Seattle are creating the chances, which they are, he's not going to freak out.
  • While Michael Azira is no Ozzie, he played a fine game. But it will be amazing to have Ozzie back for the 2nd leg.
  • Fingers crossed all is well with Lamar Neagle. His absence in the lineup prevented Seattle from pulling out a late-game Marco Pappa substitution, which the entire world knows is LA's kryptonite. Maybe next game. Fingers crossed.
  • Chad Marshall is amazing, and if I ever see him in public I just want to thank him for being such a wonderful human being and I'll probably try to go in for a hug while he extends his hand for a handshake, but realizing I'm going in for a hug he'll probably smoothly turn his handshake into a warm embrace and I'll feel loved and accepted.
  • I wouldn't mind seeing a referee go into the 2nd leg game and just lay waste to the Galaxy players. Red card them into forfeiture, I don't care. It'd be the poetic justice they rightly deserve.

It's all about the greater GIF. The greater GIF.

Sounders got a lot of fans making the trip down South for this.

These two teams are pretty evenly matched.

Wait, we don't have Ozzie? Welp.

Ugh. Of course it's the asshole Sarvas who scores.

I can't wait to hear all the complaints from LA about Scott.

Oh my Marshall! What a block to save a goal.

My liver is glad that game is over.

I'm not displeased with that result, but I'm definitely not happy.

We escaped from LA only down one goal without having Ozzie. Time to get outta town.

It'll be a tough 2nd game, but I think the Sounders can pull it out.

Now let's destroy them.