It wasn't supposed to end in November. This was the season of the treble, the hellagreedy, the hydra. It was the season of overcoming the Playoff beast, of Los Angeles, of Bruce Arena. Twenty-fourteen was supposed to be the season. Instead it was a good season with a great team, or something like that.
The November review is late. I did not want to review November, because the soccer was not what was expected.
November 2nd - 1-1 draw, an away goal against Dallas
Thank you Osvaldo Alonso. Not normally a scorer, the greatest defensive midfielder in the league put in the goal that advanced Seattle past FC Dallas.
You love the badge. So do we. Little did we know that your goal would be enough to advance.
November 23rd - 0-0, but it's a win, because rules and such
Stefan Frei and the defense won a two-leg playoff series for the Sounders. After the regular season that's an unbelievable phrase. This is the hydra without heads. It's worrisome. Seattle can't score against Dallas at home, and up next is LA. LA and no Alonso to control the only attack better than Seattle's in the MLS with Sounders era.
"In order to win MLS Cup you got to win the next series, and that's what we did. We don't lose at home when we've played our second game at home... That's something we want to continue to do, and we have to keep moving along. It's a journey." - Sigi postgame
We did not know at the time that would be such a potent phrase. Seattle does not lose at home in second legs. But they do lose on the road in first legs.
November 23rd - 1-0 loss, second leg to come
Dammit. It's the Galaxy. They and Seattle are both two of the best teams in MLS history. But the Sounders don't have Alonso. LA has all their top players. It's a decent result, a 1-0 loss on the road. Donovan and Keane and Zardes are controlled. Some central midfield gets a fortunate goal and Omar Gonzalez calls the referee a cheater.
It's OK. Seattle doesn't "lose at home when we've played our second game at home."
This is a defense that just kept two of the top four offenses in the league to two goals in three games. It's time. It is really and truly Seattle's time. History beckons. The call of legends and heroes and parades is sounding. We prepare our trumpets.
November 30th - 2-1 WIN, but a loss? What the hell?
The hydra is back! Dempsey and Evans score, and the poor man's Juninho somehow slips a ball with a deflection. This feels amazing, until you remember the Away Goals rule. What is this beast? You actually know. It's the same reason Seattle made it into the Conference Final.
It still sucks.
Goals like these should have meaning. Instead they do not. For the 46,000 people in attendance they leave with joy and disappointment in equal parts. The record setting TV crowd is satisfied.
This is November. A team with a 1-1-2 record in the Playoffs is disappointed at that end.
Making history is hard
That's the lesson of November. There's a reason a team can not expect the treble. Greed may be good, but it eventually ends. That's the lesson of 2014 even. Two trophies, twenty wins, a return to the Playoffs and the CONCACAF Champions League, an understanding that LA is beatable and unfinished business.
Seattle still doesn't have a star with its crest. That's what 2015 is for, or 2016, or '17, or '18, or whenever.
Unfinished business - that's all that November taught any of us.