This was a weird season opener between the Seattle Sounders and New England Revolution. A week ago there were doubts a game would even occur, heavy doubts. I had prepared myself mentally to the fact that there would be no soccer on the glorious day that is known as March 8th. So when news came out that a CBA had been agreed upon and a game would be played, we barely had times to prepare ourselves for the reality that a new season was upon us.
This 2015 season has heavy aspirations attached to it, especially following the success of 2014's Supporters' Shield winning double. So when one looks on the surface of offseason moves made, Seattle was relatively stagnant. Gone was DeAndre Yedlin and to replace him was a 32 year-old Englishman who's only played four games in two years. A couple homegrown players, a backup leftback, and some draft picks later and that's it. Seattle is sitting on a proverbial mountain of Allocation monies and yet no moves were made.
After an up and down preseason, we weren't sure what we were in for, especially given the lack of Osvaldo Alonso in the midfield and that the Sounders were starting newly converted centerback Brad Evans. So a little back and forth greeted both teams at the start of the game, but eventually Clint Dempsey did Clint Dempsey things, Obafemi Martins was jumping over fools, and the Sounders found themselves an easy win.
It's funny to me how even as I'm traveling to Century Link Field, sitting in the stands it hasn't yet occurred to me that this is a real game that matters, that this is a game where a win or a loss could determine potential Supporters' Shield outcomes, but fast forward 90 minutes and I'm as pumped as can be. Crazy how one soccer game can turn all the angst surrounding a potential lockout into excitement for the upcoming season. The Sounders are cool like that.
Do you know who's not cool? New England Revolution. Why? Because, one, they lost 3-0, and second, they have Goalie Cop Joe Nasco on their team and didn't even put him in the 18. What a bunch of dicks.
Speaking of a bunch of dicks, next up for Seattle is San Jose Earthquakes, who, yes, still employ Steven Lenhart. Hooray?
The part where I use bullet points
- It's funny to think that this was the Sounders first game of the season. They were connecting and looking fluid, yet still had a lot of small errors that should be ironed out once everybody hits their stride. Revolution defenders were left befuddled and on their heels. To their credit, they didn't resort to fouling like we've seen the rest of the league do when facing the Hydra. But goodness, continuity at the start of the season was evident. Other MLS teams might be collectively clenching their butts at how lethal Seattle looks this early into the season.
- Sounders third goal came off a turnover from Agudelo, who did more for Seattle than for New England, went Pappa-Dempsey-Oba-Dempsey-Pappa-Oba-Dempsey-Tap in for goal. They all deserve assists and goals there. The exasperated looks on New England players really tells the story at how frustrating it'd be to play against Seattle. There was nothing they could do. As Alexi Lalas said, "It's a dance," and all the Sounders know their part.
Brad Evans had a pretty solid game as a Centerback, but some people would view his first half turnover which resulted in Kelyn Rowe's incredible shot as a bit of a negative. However, he knew Stefan Frei had his back and that turnover resulted in an amazing save from the Suisse keeper. After last year's very rocky start, watching Frei get a MLS Save-of-the-Week contender bodes well for the season. And Evans will only get better and better.
- It kind of sucks for opposing teams when after facing Seattle there are questions asked whether they actually were a good team or an aberration. This was the Eastern Conference champions who went into extra time in the MLS Cup and people were wondering whether last year maybe they really weren't that good. That's what Seattle does to teams.
- Clint Dempsey is on pace to score 68 goals and 34 assists, which may shock a lot of pundits who predicted he'd have at least a 10-10 season. That's like, way more, dudes. Obafemi Martins, on the other hand, is on pace for 34 goals and 34 assists, which is a solid season by any metric. Rounding out the remainder of the Sounders performers are Marco Pappa and Tyrone Mears, who are set to average 0 goals but 34 assists. It'll be a weird final season stat sheet, though the 102 goals would be a team record.
- Tyrone Mears had a few solid first half contributions to cement a solid introduction to the Seattle fanbase: sending in a beautiful cross to Oba which resulted in Seattle's 2nd goal and sending Chris Tierney flying in a shoulder to shoulder tackle. It wasn't like literal flying, like a plane, but instead the New England left back's body was parallel to the ground before any part of his body connected with the turf.
- Prior to Sunday, the Sounders were 6-12-3 (W-L-D) in the regular season when playing without Osvaldo Alonso. Thanks in large part for Micheal Azira understanding what he needs to do in order for the Sounders not to miss their DP midfielder, Seattle now is 7-12-3. I'd still probably rather have Andy Rose as the Ozzie backup, but my immediate results-based analysis says that obviously whenever we play Azira this 2015 season we win 3-0.
- Sucks to see Teal Bunbury get hurt, whether he's on the other team or not. With the way he fell on the turf, the turf that the Seattle Seahawks like to have hard so that it really really hurts when you hit it, it definitely looks like a dislocated shoulder or a broken collarbone. Hopefully it's the former, but again, never fun to see. Thanks, Seahawks.
Now for some smaller, less verbose bullet points
- I think Obafemi Martins jumped 5 feet straight up in the air for his goal in the first half. We've joked about him half quads for days, but he's even got abs on those quads. And OBAFLIPS! Yay!
- The Sounders are now 5-2-0 in their season openers.
- Sean Okoli played for New England. Did you notice? Three Federal Way natives were playing professional soccer in the same MLS game. It's pretty cool for the 2-5-3.
- Those ads on Fox Sports 1 where they shrink the screen in order to add unnecessarily large borders are pretty obnoxious and jarring. I bet Audi is happy paying all this money to annoy viewers.
- Sounders are on pace for 102 points this season, which would be another team record.
- Christian Roldan made his MLS debut last night. He's running a Wins/90 of 90, great for a PP90 (Points Per 90 minutes) of 270. Surely those are league highs and should result in the midfielder being on the shortlist for rookie of the year.
- Did you guys see Chad Marshall barrel down the sideline, complete with crossovers in the 60th minute? His crossovers are so legit that just the force they create was enough to knock over Diego Fagundez. Man can do no wrong.
- Seattle is now in sole possession of first place.
- Stefan Frei leads the league in clean sheets, while Clint Dempsey leads the league in goals.
The part where I use GIFs
After months of will-they-won't-they the season actually starts!
I was a bit worried I'd have to find something other than soccer to occupy my time.
But now New England is coming into town flying high after their MLS Cup appearance.
And Seattle is already looking in fine form.
They at least seem to know what they're doing.
Sounders be scoring goals on goals! Huzzah!
Though that third goal was something ridiculous.
Oh yeah, the Sounders win!
Sounders just done punked you, Revolution!
So now that we don't get tacos for shutouts, what do we get?
We're ready for you now, San Jose!