Though you may hear me holler,
And you may see me cry--
I'll be dogged, sweet baby,
If you gonna see me die.
Life is fine! Fine as wine! Life is fine!
An excerpt from Life is Fine - Langston Hughes
Amidst the highs and lows of the World Cup, the calls and non-calls, the passions of many nations, of players and coaches, MLS marches on. Bereft of regular season soccer for nigh on three weeks, the Seattle Sounders marched to Washington to play a game against all of the District of Columbia United. And there, with the daunting task of a rising DC United across the pitch from them, the Sounders prevailed. "We are the real Washington," they shouted. "We are the Sounders and you will hear us. You will fear us. And you will fall."
On Saturday, the Sounders were the antagonists. They marched into a nation's capital high on the success of the USMNT, and the Sounders burned down the house of a rising power. It wasn't pretty, but nobody was expecting a beauty pageant. In years past, like the last time Seattle was in DC, they don't win that game. And to prove that this year is different, they ground out a win without Deuce, Oba, and the Golden Child.
The win leaves Seattle 10 points clear over the 2nd best team in the league. For reference, in 2012 when San Jose Earthquakes blew the world away and finished the season with 66 points, they were only 9 points clear over Real Salt Lake, who were 2nd in the West that year, and not to mention that Sporting KC had 63 points, so it wasn't the runaway like Seattle is currently enjoying. Playing Seattle has got to feel like running against Usain Bolt. You know you're gonna lose, but that fight for 2nd is gonna be hotly contested.
Next Sunday brings forth another road game in Vancouver, Seattle's third straight road game and their third straight road game to start the Cascadia Cup, which heats up with three straight matches against their rivals to the north and south. Can they pick up more than a draw? Only time (travelers) will tell. But this isn't about looking ahead, it's about looking at the wake of destruction we leave.
Time to shoot past our foes like Bullet Bill
- Seattle played the most MLS of lineups I've ever seen them roll out. With the exception of Gonzalo Pineda, every single starter for the Sounders has at least 4 years of MLS experience. Jalil Anibaba has the least MLS experience and he's been in the league since 2011. Excluding this current season, Saturday's Starting XI had a combined 60 years in the MLS.
- I'll admit it, I was underwhelmed by the initial acquisition of Chad Barrett. I hadn't seen much of him other than a big bruising late game substitution type, but goodness was I wrong. He's been a very good contributor for Seattle, scoring the lone goals in two separate 1-0 victories so far, as well as the opening goal against Vancouver, an additional goal in the massacre against RSL, and the assist on Clint Dempsey's winner against FC Dallas. Seattle's depth really shone through in Saturday's game, taking on the Eastern Conference leaders on the road and earning the three points.
- Bad luck that both Pineda and Osvaldo Alonso will be suspended for next week's Vancouver Whitecaps match due to yellow card accumulation. Pineda's wasn't deserved in the slightest, but Ozzie earned his by kicking at EJ's legs hard. I might be projecting here, but that mistimed tackle looked more like a "I really want to kick this guy" kind of tackle. No love lost? For you conspiracy theorists, when I googled "Silviu Petrescu fan club" I discovered the referee is from Canada. Maybe he's secretly a Whitecaps fan?
- You could tell the tactic to have Jalil Anibaba shadow Eddie Johnson's every movies frustrated the mercurial striker, as he continued to drop further and further back to get involved. Since the end result was a Sounders shut-out victory, I'd say it was very effective. I think it's safe to say we should move past his mistakes in the Portland game, just like we've accepted Marco Pappa is not his Toronto game persona.
- To further expand on the remarkable start of the season so far, Seattle is tied with DC United for most points earned at home with 18. Seattle has done it in 8 matches while DC has done it in 10. Seattle also has the most points earned on the road in the MLS with 17 in only 8 games. Second is RSL with 13 points in 9 games.
How about some Franklin back shoves to take us home?
- Raise your hand if you said, "Now that's using your head," after Stefan Frei made his late game face-save on EJ's shot?
- Brad Evans consciously caught a live ball and didn't get yellow carded. Magic.
- Of the 14 Sounders to play on Saturday, only 5 of them were former teammates of Eddie Johnson.
- I have a feeling Ross Fletcher gave a fair few of us some heart palpitations when he incorrectly announced a penalty had been awarded for DC United.
- Over the last 11 games, Seattle has gone 9-1-1, good for 28 points out of a possible 33.
- Seattle has a +13 Goal Differential in the 2nd Half of games this season.
- Seattle has collected 72.9% of all available points this season. The next best team, Toronto, has only collected 55.6% of available points.
I love the smell of GIFs in the morning
Time to go into DC's house and make it our own.
Oh, Petrescu? This could go horribly wrong.
Really? An Alonso yellow and suspension? Ugh.
Barrett! You almost got that header. You gotta put those away, dude!
Like that! Barrett, yes! Own that goal!
We might actually pull this off.
Uhh, did you not see Franklin push over Cooper there?
Looking for more goals here. Just one will do.
C'mon, Sounders. I believe in you. You're better than they are.
This is not the same beautiful sport we've been watching for the past two weeks.
Seriously? You booked Pineda for that?
Road win! It was ugly, but I'll take it.
I don't know how they did it, but I'm glad it happened.
Some serious Sounders magic, that there was.
Sorry not sorry you couldn't get that point, DC.
Seriously, 10 points clear. Unreal.
Time to get ready for Vancouver next week.