Football, colloquially known as soccer round these parts, is known as "The Beautiful Game." Well, I watched the Seattle Sounders and Sporting Kansas City play on Saturday night, and that game was anything but beautiful. What ultimately ended as a 0-0 draw between the two "Western" conference foes, the game resembled more of a large scale wrestling match, or what gladiatorial battles would've looked like if they were bloodless and everybody was bored.
Sounders teams of the past were susceptible to teams who played aggressively physical or employed dirty or cheap tactics. That would've described most all iterations of SKC teams under head coach Peter Vermes, but perhaps this season has been a bit different for the Midwestern team, a little more docile, willing to play the game fairly. Jair Marrufo, the referre from Saturday's match, would have none of that. The former Bloodsport referee didn't much feel like calling fouls during Saturday's game, and when players know the referee won't call fouls, well, let's say the game gets a little more physical.
It wasn't a beautiful game. It wasn't even a homely game. It was leperous. Wasted chances fell off the wayside like discarded limbs. Seattle had the ball for seemingly the entire game, trying to replicate the success they found in Vancouver. It worked in the sense that SKC rarely touched the ball, but it failed in the sense that it was a 0-0 game that would serve as confirmation bias for any anti-soccer critic.
I wonder if Saturday's result isn't a byproduct of Seattle's myriad of stoppage time winners versus the Team Formerly Known as the Wizards. The two teams seemed willing to kick the ball around until late, not putting too much stock in scoring goals early, wondering if the late magic would strike again for the Sounders. Well, it didn't. There was a moment in the first half when SKC goalkeeper Tim Melia received a backpass and had no pressure from Seattle. He stood there with the ball at his feet for a few seconds, motionless. No players attempted to hurry him up. He just stood there. I wondered to myself if anybody would pressure him if he just continued to stand there, minutes ticking past until the half time whistle. Then, at the start of the second half, the ball would be kicked off and would remain in the center circle until the 90th minute. At that point players would start moving again and the game would begin in full, because everybody knows games between the Seattle Sounders and Sporting Kansas City don't start until the end.
As a result, there will be no notes during this game, because, c'mon, I had to sit through it once. I thought about not even including any GIFs, but we've all suffered enough, especially Gonzalo Pineda, who lived through 90 minutes of the quagmire just to end up hobbled and hurt. I spent the rest of my weekend seeking out beauty in this world, because I needed confirmation that it existed. Fingers crossed a weekday match against lowly Colorado Rapids will reaffirm the assertion of soccer being "the beautiful game", but first-win-in-20+-games-head-coach Pablo Mastroeni will be in town and his villainy knows no bounds.
Game on! Time for the Sounders to shred!
Then again, maybe I don't want to watch this game.
I have a bad feeling about this.
This game... I can't even...
It's like everybody is running through the gauntlet.
Seriously, this game is the worst.
Jair Marrufo? He don't care.
We all need a little support after watching that shit.
Now that this game is over, let's move on, shall we?