The final match of the Sigi Schmid era was a 3-0 loss in the heat of a Kansas City summer that had the Sounders’ playoff hopes dissolving like the contents of a Heisenberg drum. It was the third multi-goal loss of the WEEK and was ultimately the final dagger in Sigi’s contract. Despite a 5-0 win over FC Dallas the previous week, that July may have been the lowest point in Seattle’s MLS existence.
Weekends didn’t exist for that entire month in my world. Having left a job in June, I decided to go do something crazy and look into teaching English abroad. So for three consecutive weekends, while the Seattle Sounders were watching their legacy of consistent excellence melt away at the hands of perhaps their three least-liked opponents, I was taking notes in a North Seattle classroom on Past Participles and trying to work out the time I’d need to wake up to catch Sounders matches in East Asia.
It may have been because of my absence during the worst stretch of the season that I never really felt like the Sounders were out of it. Yes, I knew the odds, realized that even winning their games in hand would put them short of that dastardly red line. Perhaps it was simply naiveté that happened to be right this time, like the first person to wrestle a bear without getting mauled. Blind faith isn’t good for much, but that doesn’t mean it’s always wrong.
The Vancouver match was perhaps a microcosm of the season to date; Unexpected absences even right up to the beginning of the match/season left the team short-handed and lost a few more as time went on.
Obafemi Martins goes to China. Andreas Ivanschitz is scratched for a neck issue.
Clint Dempsey leaves to take care of a serious health issue. Alvaro Fernandez goes down early with a bum hammy.
Nicolas Lodeiro, in the midst of saving a season, gets a fifth (dumb) yellow to miss two consecutive matches. Brad Evans, after scoring the winning goal, gets a dumb red.
The team even put themselves in an early hole, forced to come back without most of their attacking talent. It was the same task put before this very club a dozen times in the first half of the season, when the chances were few and the shots far-between.
A 1-0 scoreline isn’t “the most dangerous” deficit, but on the road against even a Cappy Cascadia team that one goal can be especially tough to make up. One goal was enough to stop some Sounders rosters this year. It didn’t stop this one. Whether it’s coaching or belief or a little bit of both, the Sounders have figured out how to win even when it seems like nothing’s going their way. And that, more than any individual player, will be why they can succeed in November.
GIFS (Pronounced like GIRAFFE)
It’s an international journey
Always nice to visit beautiful downtown Vancouver
What do you MEAN “Ivanschitz hurt his neck?”
And now Flaco is down too...
Hey, that 15 year-old is pretty good
Want to blame Salazar for that PK, but can’t
You can’t hold the honey badger back forever
You deserve a red for going after Roldan’s face, Morales
Luckily Roldan can’t be stopped
Evans wasn’t in long, but he made a big impact!
Believe me, if Evans wanted to headbutt you, he would have
Four in a row!
No Cascadia Cup (shrug)
Hope you find something fun to do while we’re in the playoffs