There are heroes among us. Silent guardians, watchful protectors, they work as beacons in the darkness. They hide in plain sight, shopping at your grocery stores, drinking coffee at your cafes, sitting in your movie theaters. Most days they go about their business, but when they are needed most they don their equipment and wait for the Sounders flamethrower signal. The rest of the world knows them as Sounders, but to us they are more. Recently though, the false façade of these secret identities has been chipping away.
The secret nature of these alter-egos has been tenuous for years. In 2012 an image was captured showing the likes of Adam Johansson, Eddie Johnson and Michael Gspurning setting aside their differences to beat back the Chitauri invasion. Just another New York road trip. Below, you can see for the first time the true identities of these green-clad men.
But first, let us examine why super powered individuals would chose a secret life of sports. Professional athletes and superheroes actually have much in common. Here, look at this bullet point list:
Perhaps most important commonality is their incessant need for an arch-rival. Many heroes would have retired to a beach and thrown their "vengeance" to the wind decades ago, if it weren't for that one asshole who keeps breaking out of Arkham/Ravencroft/Negative Zone/etc. In our world, that asylum is Oregon.
In Seattle we have a virtual Metropolis, home to some of the world's greatest feats and thinkers. The shadows of Mt. Rainier and the Space Needle are cast long, and if you look closely at the end of these shadows you'll see the villainous hives of "that state north of California." Divided from civilization by the same powerful force that brings the world its energy, this Savage Land is home to some of the most diabolical minds of our time. From the Hall of Doom (which doubles as a Deschutes Brewery) Lex Luthor and his Army of Doom (Yes, they used Doom twice) brainstorm together with the goal of finally finding the plan that will defeat Seattle once and for all. They are Seattle's Mole Men.
And they've gotten their licks in, no question about it. Twice in 40 years they've ruined potential playoff runs, and no one was ever happier about a U.S. Open Cup Round-of-32 victory than the Morlocks of Portland (save maybe fans of Cal FC.) Their latest scheme involved a wind machine that would knock out power to thousands in the Seattle area, thinning the crowd and reducing Seattle's home field advantage (not to mention delaying this ground-breaking expose.)
But as with all hero stories, the ending is predictable. Even when everything goes wrong, when it seems as though the whole world has turned against them, the heroes always win. As such, it will always be Seattle's job to protect the country (and indeed, the world) from the evil that is Portland. Seattle will win in defense of the 63,000 plus who need saving on Sunday, and even if they don't, they'll eventually bounce back to save us when we need them most. Or maybe they'll die and be brought back to life ten years from now. Its comics.
Please meet the alter-egos of our starting XI below, and use your imagination for Portland's roster.
Stefan Frei - Mr. Fantastic (saves)
A super genius accidentally exposed to space gas (or something) Stefan Frei's stretching ability makes him able to reach all corners of the net without moving. He's so smart that he can think the recent Fantastic Four movie out of existence.
Tyrone Mears - Iceman
Cool under pressure (GET IT,) this defender knows how to make opposing skill players go cold. Against him, the number of goals are below zero. Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Roman Torres - Colossus
Torres is a mammoth of a man, born with the ability to be bigger and tougher than anyone around him. He can cover his entire body in super-hard metals.
Chad Marshall - Groot
Wind won't knock down this defensive stalwart. In moments of high pressure, he can spread his limbs out to protect his teammates and be reborn like a big wooden phoenix. (Not to be confused with Phoenix.)
Dylan Remick - Human Torch
He's newer to this whole superhero thing than most of the others (despite being like 70 years old shhhh comics) but Remick has a fire that allows him to fly up and down the field. You go up against Remick, you're gonna get burned.
Brad Evans - Cyclops
More than anything, Evans' superpower is leadership. Regardless of what he does on the battlefield, the team as a whole is better when Evans is present. When the chips are down, you can rely on Brad to make the tough choice for the better of the team. Also, you don't want to be in front of him when he stares at you.
Osvaldo Alonso - Wolverine
He's the best at what he does, and what he does is not give a fuck.
Erik Friberg - Spider-man
If it seemed like that pass came from an impossible angle, it might be because this player used his special talents. After being bitten by a radioactive spider as a teenager, Friberg got really angry and decided to vent his frustrations on the soccer pitch. Has been known to shoot taco condiments out of his wrists.
Nelson Haedo Valdez - Namor
Valdez is among the oldest active Sounders in the world, but also among the most powerful. Valdez rules over the kingdom of Atlantis (which, as we know, is the Seattle suburb with the best commute (yachts.)) He's really good at soccer, but don't even play against him in water polo.
Obafemi Martins - Black Panther
Martins may be from Nigeria, but he's also the former king of the fictional country of Wakanda. Armed with a vibranium-laced suit and heightened physical ability (thanks to the support of the Panther god) Martins is able to see things no one else does and perform feats no one else could match. He's also suave as all get-out.
Clint Dempsey - Deadpool**
He's got a mouth that gets him into trouble sometimes, but this talented Merc with a Mouth has the ability and agility to get things done. He's terrific at breaking the fourth wall, Dave.
"But Flatness" you say. "This team only has kickass DUDES on here! Where are all the awesome ladies?" To which I reply "That is very observant of you. I'm saving those for the inevitable Reign follow-up." Then you reply "Oh sweet, that's great!"
** How did we end up with two Canadians on this roster?