We have arrived. After painstakingly considering 16 of the most wonderful moments of Seattle Sounders fandom in 2014, the top four have been chosen and will face off in a final round of voting. The final group covers a broad spectrum of Sounder achievements and includes winning trophies, a national team performance, and that very important Sounder achievement: scoring on the Timbers.
Dempsey Hat-Trick to Draw in Portland
It's amazing how the narrative of a season can turn on little moments. Our arch-rival Timbers started out sluggish this season, with no wins in their first 4 matches. They could have put their season back on track with an April win over the hated Sounders on national television. But that would qualify as treading, and Deuce Dempsey would have none of it. His 87th-minute penalty finished off a hat trick that brought the Sounders back from deficits twice, stunning Providence Park and keeping the Timbers winless.
Pappa Pickpockets Penedo to Secure Shield
We were feeling pretty confident that Seattle would earn their first MLS hardware when in the final game of the season we were deep into stoppage time with a one goal lead over the LA Galaxy, needing only a draw to secure the Supporters' Shield. But Marco Pappa, who'd scored the goal to take the lead, wanted to make absolutely, definitely sure. And so when Galaxy keeper Jaime Penedo dallied on the ball, Pappa went in for the tackle not once, but twice — eventually getting the ball off of Penedo to dribble in and finish with a delicate chip behind AJ DeLaGarza. And there was much rejoicing.
Yedlin Represents America at the World Cup
A few years ago the only people who'd recognize DeAndre Yedlin were his friends and Sounders Academy nerds (hi). Then for a couple of years you had to be a college soccer nerd. Then, rather suddenly, all of Sounders nation knew about him. Then the league knew about him. A year later, all of American soccer knew about him. And when he subbed into a World Cup match against Portugal in June, the world knew about him.
The consensus pre-tournament predictions were that Yedlin wouldn't make the World Cup roster — and even if he did, he'd just be sightseeing to prepare for 2018. But he became one of Jurgen Klinsmann's most-used subs, bringing pace and aggression to the US right flank. He set up multiple goals and chances, memorably neutralized Eden Hazard in the Belgium match, and raised his stock enough that he's likely to be transferring to an EPL team any day now.
Oba Beast Mode Goal vs Timbers
This isn't the only Obafemi Martins goal in this competition. It isn't even the only goal against the Timbers in the competition. But it stands out as being the most pure expression of Oba's combination of will to score and sublime ability on the ball. It also helps that it was the 4th goal, marking the second time in two games that the Sounders dropped 4 goals on the Timbers defense at Providence Park.