You may be familiar with the grand philosophy of alternative realities as presented by Community in Remedial Chaos Theory. You can also read up on the scientific study of multiverses in Anathem by Neal Stephenson. Other studies of polycosmic worlds exist in Star Trek, Seinfeld, Sliders and more.
Other worlds most certainly exist. Accept this, because Jeff Winger does. We can access these other worlds, as Fraa Jad does.
Let's head through the looking glass to see the brightest timeline, a timeline where the Sounders were the greatest team of 2015 and that dire, dark day on June 16th went on an entirely different path from the timeline we "enjoyed" for the past six weeks.
In the less dark timeline something else happened. There was no turning point, no fateful injury to Obafemi Martins. It was the thing of legends.
Down Brad Evans to a second yellow, Martins had tied the match in the 79th minute and forced Extra Time against the hated Portland Timbers. Fortress Starfire is weakened when Rodney Wallace nets a goal in the 100th minute. But the Sounders have Clint Dempsey and Oba. Their confidence does not waver. Pressure continues to mount on Portland, who is unable to find a solution to Clinfemi. Clint scores in the 112th minute and the stadium erupts in pleasure. Azira gets a red in the 112th and it erupts in despair. There's no way that Seattle can handle the Timbers for 8 minutes plus stoppage while down two men, can they? Dempsey gives the referee a long, sarcastic clap. The referee gives Dempsey a long, angry stare.
Seattle bunkers, hard. They sit in a 4-1-3 with Rose as the one. Dempsey, Martins and Neagle wait it out in the corners. The only goal is to hang on through the waves of Gaston, Urrutti and Nagbe. They manage to force the match to deciding kicks.
Seattle's five is Clint, Oba, Lamar, Rose and Mears. Portland goes with Jewsbury, Wallace, Fernandez, Borchers and Peay. Sounders kick first. Martins nets. Wallace responds. Neagle's attempt is saved. Jewsbury's attempt is also saved. Things are tense at 1-1 going into the third round. Dempsey panenka's Kawarsay. Borchers skies his. Now 2-1 and Mears is up. He bangs it into the upper corner an oddly spinny thing that doesn't cross the line, at first. Then it bounces and, due to the odd English, scores. Peay, in front of friends from college, goes so wide left that it might was well be called right. The Sounders advance in the Open Cup 3-1. The rest of June and July are going to be brutal. There's the Open Cup, the Gold Cup and seven MLS matches in six weeks. But this club couldn't be more confident. They are 9-4-2, had a miracle comeback while down two men and continue on their path to a fifth US Open Cup.
In this alternate reality there isn't depression and despair. There is HYPE, HYPE, HYPE.
But the defense still has issues, the lack of Alonso forces a 4-2-1-3. That band of three is because there is no Martins. He's rather tired from going a full 120. Most of the team is tired. They give up two goals, but score two as well. Neagle and Dempsey work well on either side of Barrett. The goals are a symbol of how the team can work without Dempsey when the Gold Cup starts. Neagle to Barrett and Barrett to Neagle are the paths to each. Dempsey gets one secondary assist and Rose gets the other. The possession game is strong.
But there are holes. The midfield is a bit slow. They need some rest; they need their leader - Alonso. June/July could be rough. Dropping points to the Earthquakes sucks, but that win without Alonso and Martins is great. Squad rotation is going to be key until July 25th with all the games filling the schedule.
Brightest Timeline is 9-4-3
This other polycosm has some issues. Chad Marshall doesn't start. Clint Dempsey sits out. Brad Evans sits out. Tyrone Mears sits out. Alonso is still out. It's a rough look, but it's just the Union. They suck. Fisher, Ockford, Scott and Remick help Frei manage the match. They give up just a single goal. The midfield is still bizarre.
Pineda, Azira, Pappa are the center mids. Roldan is on one wing with Neagle on the other. Oba is up top. Seattle is getting service from the wings, but Martins is gassed. Kovar enters for Neagle. Barrett enters for Roldan. Chad Marshall enters for Martins. In the 94th minute Marshall knocks in a Kovacula ball and Seattle draws level.
Brightest Timeline 9-4-4
Bright timelines aren't only bright. Sometimes teams lose. Even teams with Clint Dempsey and Obafemi Martins and Marco Pappa in a three-man forward set left to right can lose. Clint scored, because that's what he does. It was a great ball from Tyrone Mears that did it, but that only tied the game 1-1.
Fenando Adi embarrassed the midfield and defense putting Portland up 3-1. Like that 2014 April match things get hurried. Clint Dempsey feeds Neagle who had replaced Pappa - a goal!. Barrett replaces Martins so that Oba can get some rest. He scores off a Clint throughball. It looks like the Timbers Open Cup revenge will have to wait.
Then Rodney Wallace scores in added time. It's a 4-3 loss in a match for the ages. Dempsey is a Cascadian king with a goal and two assists. Seattle got Martins a tiny bit of rest and more work with their version of a 433.
This brightest timeline is now 9-5-4. The Sounders are running away from the competition with 31 points by the end of June.
July 1st our timeline didn't have an Open Cup game
The Sounders have a crappy draw. They have to go to RSL on July 1st and then host DC United on July 3rd. Plus Dempsey, Evans and Pappa are gone at Gold Cup action. This is the problem with greatness.
It's a rotational lineup going up against Salt Lake, but that same backline held it's own against Philly. They serve Perkins well. Sebastian Jaime does get a goal, but so do Darwin Jones and Chad Barrett. The brightest timeline sees the Sounders in the Open Cup Quarterfinal hosting the Galaxy at Fortress Starfire. Arena's already said he's not coming. Half the LA team says they are afraid of the turf.
Wandering the multiverse can be frightening. Sometimes your universal path hits the same point twice. This is the game when Alonso returns. Martins didn't play due to a minor tweak. Mears don't care. He wins this game in every timeline.
Now at 10-5-4 the brightest timeline consists of national media wondering who can slow down the Sounders since the Gold Cup isn't.
Hahahahahah. Timeline so bright that the fire don't burn. Chicago's fortune is not bold. Instead they give up a goal to Obafemi Martins who is ripping balls at poor Johnson. He misses his friend Clint, but he wants something he calls the Oba Gold Cup. People don't know what this is, but it's probably sold at the Bravern.
Late in the match the Fire look to burst through on a counter. It could be a draw. Only Azira is in a spot to stop the attack. He hacks that Chicagoan down, hard. It's a yellow. There's a bit more stoppage time but Seattle holds on. The Fire are still losers.
11-5-4 and the Sounders' timeline is shadowed in electricity and cyan.
July 14th our timeline didn't have the Open Cup
Bruce Arena didn't travel. Neither do Keane or Gerrard, they'd heard about Starfire. It's a scary place.
Darwin Jones gets a hattrick. Darwin fricking Jones. Kid is now a legend. The first one was like Pappa-Penedo. The second he rounds Leonardo in the 58th minute. The third DeLaGarza chops down Andy Craven. The 74th minute penalty is taken by Jones. He blasts it. It goes through the net. Legend.
Timeline so bright the Sounders are in another Sounders Cup semifinal.
There is a timeline where Man United and America play on Field Turf and this is it. No silly Sounders slip-and-slide. Instead Obafemi Martins has his normal footing and treats the Rapids how you treat rapids - he goes right through them. It's two incredible goals. Thomas feeds one, Jones feeds the other. The offense is wicked good.
Kevin Doyle didn't finish the game. When he bloodied Pineda he was ejected. Perkins, filling in for Frei, earns a shutout.
Brightest timeline is at 12-5-4
It is replaced with "Friberg, Martins lead Sounders to road tacos and haircuts." Now with the midfield in a 433 of Alonso, Rose and Friberg feeding Neagle, Martins and Thomas things are on cruise control. Other sides are hurting during the Gold Cup, but not Seattle. Seattle is flying high.
Friberg's deep-lying playmaking finds Martins three times. Oba hits low left, upper right and megs the keeper. He almost has the Oba Gold Cup. It's so close. Plus he knows that Clint and Brad are coming back. Frei is coming back. This party is getting stronger.
Brightest timeline is 13-5-4 +19 with 43 points.
This is the brightest timeline. It is a place where Oba didn't get injured, Clint never ripped a notebook and the depth actually performs. It isn't all sunshine. It's just a continuation of how good the team was prior to June 16th, the dire day.