For we are what we are-
So broke to blood
And the strict works of war-
So long subdued
To sacrifice, that threadbare Death commands
Hardly observance at our busier hands.
Yet we were what we were,
And, fashioned so,
It pleases us to stare
At the far show
Of unbelievable years and shapes that flit,
In our own likeness, on the edge of it.
Rudyard Kipling - Rebirth, excerpt
So I've got myself into a bit of a bother. Some of you may have put the pieces together already, and if you have, that's pretty creepy. But for those of you who haven't put the pieces together, let me share with you my concerns on a matter.
You see, several times over the past couple seasons I've had to take excursions of sorts that leave me incommunicado and unable to watch the Sounders or follow the Sounders or even write lovely little stories about the Sounders. It happened twice last season and it happened most recently after the Portland victory. But it's the timing of these absences that's suspect.
Last season I missed DempseyWatch and the next few games, which were losses. But when I got back, the Seattle Sounders went on their great run culminating in that thrilling 2-0 thrashing against Real Salt Lake. Immediately following that game, however, I left for a month. What I came back to was a horror show. 2 points in 6 games played. I'm sure one or two of you remember. Things didn't exactly get back to good when I got back either.
Is this evidence damning? Hardly, but it's a trend, and an alarming one at that. So I guess it's a good thing I was able to watch the Sounders take on the Houston Dynamo this past Sunday. Is it a curse that I have, that if I'm unable to watch a Sounders game they're doomed to fall? Is that such a bad curse to have? I could think of worse curses to have, like having to be Will Johnson, for instance.
Bulletpoints over Broadway
- Let's jump right in, shall we? Immediately preceding Djimi Traore's handball which was awarded as a Houston Penalty, Leo Gonzalez cleared a loose ball that appeared to have hit Brad Davis in the right arm. Fortuitously, the ball settled nicely for Houston, which resulted in Boniek Garcia's shot that hit Traore's arm. In isolation, I have no problem with the penalty being called against Seattle there, but when juxtaposed to an initially incidental handball that was beneficial to Houston not being called and a similar scenario playing out mere seconds later, the penalty seemed harsh. One of ESPN replays even cut to a moment immediately following Davis's handball, with zero mention that it occurred, but we won't get into how horribly ESPN covered the game.
- Brad Davis deserved to miss his penalty. Stutter steps are the worst, especially stutter steps that start as you get to the ball, which his was pretty damn close to doing. Sure, Stefan Frei left the line early, which is going to happen when the penalty taker stops at the ball prior to kicking it. Taylor Twellman said Frei was three yards off his line, which would mean he was halfway in the 6-yard box. At the time the ball was kicked, Frei was one step off the line, albeit a tall man's step. Twellman also said Davis has, "Arguably the best left foot off set pieces in MLS history," in the 20th minute. Oh wait, I said I wasn't going to complain about ESPN.
- So Obafemi Martins got two yellow cards, I'm not sure if you knew the standing ovation was for that, but both his yellows were of the "I'm frustrated and gonna take it out on you" variety. Now he won't be available for the match against RSL, which is a pretty big deal. It's getting pretty clear that if you kick at Oba's heels and the referee won't call those as fouls, Oba can and will lash out. Let's hope nobody else notices, like upcoming USOC Semi-Final opponent Chicago Fire... ah shit.
- >Late in the first half Leo Gonzalez ran forward into Houston's 18 (Leo runs are one of my favorite things in Sounders history). His foray resulted in a Seattle corner, but little did we know, Boniek Garcia hit the ball out of bounds with his arm, an arm that was in a more unnatural position than Traore's when the very same Garcia shot it off the Frenchman. Did ESPN make any mention of this? No, of course not, because it ran counter to their whole "Houston is absolutely dominating this match" mantra they had inexplicably going on throughout the entirety of the first half (well, at least the parts of the first half they aired). Oh shit, I did it again, I swear, that's the last time I complain about ESPN.
- At the beginning of the second half Oba was tackled in the box by David Horst. Twellman explained it as a non-foul by saying that Oba went down before the tackle even started. But in the one and only replay ESPN showed (because they were fawning over Giles Barnes's shot that Frei saved), you can see Horst make contact only with Oba's left leg, solidly, even landing on it. If there was contact with the ball it was minimal at best. But that was it. Nothing more was said about it, because they presumably had to continue talking about how good 22 point Houston is.
- After Seattle secured their two goal lead, Brian Ownby was "tackled" by Leo which resulted in a Houston free kick 25-yards out. He took an acrobatic tumble with arms outstretched pleading for a foul to be called, which it was. But there looked to be no contact whatsoever. Fast forward to the 86th minute when Oba is tracking the very same Ownby, and barely clips the Houston player's foot, which causes Ownby to slide along the ground in the very same way, arms outstretched, pleading for a card. Methinks Ownby might have a little embellishment problem.
- In the 84th minute Luis Garrido tracked Clint Dempsey back all the way to Seattle's defensive line, hacking at Deuce's feet over and over again with no calls coming. Once Deuce finally passed the ball away, he swung both arms out. If he landed, I could see that being a red. But if Penso calls any one of those hacks a foul, the whole situation is avoided.
How about some Ownby flops to take us home
- Timeline: Chad Barrett enters 67:35. Marco Pappa scores 68:37.
- Watching ESPN cover the match, I learned more about Arena Football than I ever wanted to in my entire life.
- Oh hey, we still have Andy Rose! Nice to see him back on the pitch.
- I'm surprised they didn't award an own goal on Pappa's goal, but I won't complain.
- I like it when Seattle has a poorly taken penalty kick still find the back of the net. Huzzah!
- After Pineda's goal, Houston had a throw in that they wanted to take quickly, but Marco Pappa had the ball in his hands still, which he showed and offered to referee Penso, who called back the throw in for two balls being on the field.
- Houston made the weirdest "half time" substitution I've ever seen, where they kicked it off, kicked it immediately out of bounds, and subbed out Will Bruin. No idea why they did that.
- In the run of play Barnes is Houston's most dangerous player and he seemingly has been since he joined the Dynamo, ergo I dislike him.
- Twice Oba had an "open goal" and was unable to hit it hard enough to put it away both times. That sounds harsher than it actually was, but we've seen Martins score goals in his brief Sounders history that would've made these two seem pedestrian.
Joey, do you like gifs about gladiators?
Is Houston in town? Yup.
I wonder how Houston prepared for this match.
A penalty? Whatever. Fine.
What's Brad Davis gonna do here?
That's my boy, Frei!
This game. Where do I begin?
It sure is nice having Chad Marshall back. Such a rock in defense.
Alright, I'm really getting tired of your shit, ESPN.
A Pappa goal?! He just does what he wants.
And now a penalty? Our lucky day!
Hmm, how did Gonzalo Pineda squeak that one past Tally Hall?
A red card for Oba? Eh, could've done without that.
Though Houston put forth a good effort, it was all for naught.
Thanks for the three points!
Ugly win, boys, but a win nonetheless.
But we got work to do still.
I can't hardly wait for Wednesday's game now! Time to put Chicago where they belong.