Normally a quiet, sleepy town, Seattle was rocked by the news that the Seattle Sounders merely tied Houston Dynamo on Sunday. Lost and confused, the townsfolk were hoping for answers and finding none. A new reality formed, one which our minds could not accept. Another draw. Another disappointment. Another anemic performance.
Gone are the days of clinching playoff spots with games left to play. Gone are the days of embarrassing your opponents into meek submission. Here now mediocrity sows its roots. Angst and uncertainty have been set aside for the results of any future matches are etched in stone: draw, draw, draw. Neutrality reigns supreme. The Sounders have been set to Beige Alert.
In all seriousness, that's Seattle's third straight draw and fourth in five matches. Sure, some would say that the Sounders are unbeaten in seven straight MLS matches and how that's not bad. Yet during those seven matches Seattle has had the opportunity to set itself apart from the rest of the teams during this wacky, bizarre season, and they haven't. They had a chance to take the top spot in the West. Nope, FC Dallas got that. Seattle could've even won the Supporter's Shield for the second year in a row, but no, no we drew ourselves out of that possibility.
Now exists a chance that, for the first time in MLS history, Seattle could miss out on the playoffs entirely. That would be less than acceptable, to understate things a bit. Surely were that to occur we would forget 2015 ever happened. This season has been utterly bewildering. On paper Seattle still has a top three team in the league, but getting the right players on the field at the same time has been a task hard to do. Through the teams first 33 games, Clint Dempsey has appeared in 19 of them, Obafemi Martins has appeared in 20, and Osvaldo Alonso has played in 21. If it seems like I'm cherry picking, well, those were the teams DPs until Nelson Haedo Valdez joined the squad, who, by the way, has only started in 5 of the 10 MLS games Seattle has played since his introduction.
Are hamstrings to blame? Is Jurgen Klinsmann to blame? Is the "Seattle can't have nice things" curse to blame? After the Seattle Seahawks won Super Bowl 48, they had another spectacular season capped by the most heart-wrenching loss imaginable to the ultimate villainous team. And now their current season? Well, it's not going according to plans. The Seattle Sounders had a spectacular 2014 season; US Open Cup Champions, Supporter's Shield winners, the Hydra was hail and hearty and wreaking devastation, but yet another playoff exit sent the team home early while the loathsome LA Galaxy lifted another MLS Cup trophy and took home all the accolades. And now this season? Woof.
However, not all hope is lost. It'd take an unlikely turn of events to see Seattle miss the playoffs. So assuming Seattle makes the playoffs, they're in the same tournament with 11 other teams. Someone has to win. Seattle still has one of the best teams in the league, regular season standings notwithstanding. Put any other team across the pitch from the Sounders and Seattle would still be the favorite. A few weeks from now we can be riding the high of seeing our team the ultimate champions, Seattle Sounders etched into the nameplate on the MLS Cup trophy. Alonso would be hoisting the trophy high, his father in the stands feeling so proud of this man his son has become. All of us fans would order new authentic kits with a star above the crest, our crest.
That future is much better than the one where our season ends next Sunday, and we take out all frustrations on all the neighborhood trick or treaters. Thanksgiving rolls around and when it comes your turn to state what you're thankful for you blurt out in short, angered tones, "Not the Sounders, that's for damn sure." Everybody knows they're walking on eggshells around you as you brood and you fester and you wait until the Sounders give you a reason to celebrate again, because we all know that despite all the frustrations, all the ineptitude, that at our core we are Sounders at Heart and we will show up, rain or shine, and give this team our everything.
Another trip to Houston. These always seem to go so well.
This first half is awful. I can hardly watch.
This referee is letting a lot of stuff go.
Now we're losing? Seattle just likes to make things more difficult for themselves, it seems.
Just, ugh, come get me when the Sounders stop having disappointing results.
Oh, football tackles are fine in the penalty box? Good call, referee.
I need to take a moment for myself real quick.
Thank goodness for Oba.
Hooray. A draw. Again.
But another not-win. Sounders can't seem to figure out the right path.
Thanks a lot, Houston.
We're gonna show RSL what's what when they come into Seattle.
I hope things turn out okay for us in the end.