Like a candle burning at both ends, the Seattle Sounders were both brilliant and short-lived when they faced Sporting Kansas City on Sunday. Their majesty was cut short by half, leading to an uninspiring loss which left a bitter taste in the mouths of many. As far as season openers go, there may not exist as big a gut-punch as this recent loss.
There is just something about losing to a team that plays negative football, that relies on fouls and having a referee bail them out. Recall the only times in history that the Sounders have lost to SKC and you'll see a bizarrely accurate demonstration of referees impacting a game on controversial calls seemingly favor one side. It's just rather unfortunate that side isn't the Sounders.
But I get it, for years we've been asking the league to get better referees. We've been railing against incompetency, against flying roundhouse kicks landing in the guts of Sounders only to see the offender get off without even a foul being called against them. So while it is unfortunate that the Sounders and Oniel Fisher were so harshly penalized for a moment lacking any semblance of maliciousness, it is a good sign that portends to better times.
Trust me when I say that if this type of refereeing remains consistent, the act of giving red cards to players who endanger opponents with dangerous play, the Sounders will benefit far more than they will be penalized. And maybe, just maybe, ultra-super fingers-crossed maybe, this type of refereeing will deter teams from playing negative football, who will find that every game their players are getting red cards and stacks on stacks of yellow cards.
Coaches like Peter Vermes and Frank Yallop who, wait, Frank Yallop got fired? Oh. So it's just Peter Vermes then? He's the last vestige of this awful chapter of MLS coaching styles? Oh my goodness, that just makes me hate him even more. Maybe it's just that SKC was missing Benny Feilhaber and Justin Mapp, two excellent offensive players, that as a team they resorted to being little shits, but that's just SKC doing SKC things. They get no benefit of the doubt from me.
For the Sounders though, they looked good despite facing a team who fouls you at every opportunity to disrupt your flow. They generated some excellent looks on goals, looks that were unfortunate to not have scored. The red card changed things, but even still, even though SKC had buttloads of possession in the second half, Seattle still looked like the most goal-threatening team, despite the fact that SKC, ya'know, scored a goal, however cheaply they did it.
Basically, nothing that occurred on Sunday dissuades me from the notion that Seattle is primed to have a great season. It's not often we'll be held scoreless and it's not often we'll allow goals from centerbacks to squirt underneath the armpit of our goalkeeper. We'll win more than we lose. We'll win more than we draw. But we'll probably lose more than we draw because that's how we roll.
Oh, and if any Sporting Kansas City fans are reading this, Peter Vermes is a piece of shit and an awful coach and I'm glad that you had to endure the agony of failing in last season's playoffs. Victories do not validate his shitty style, and you should have no pride when you do win. You root for a bad team.
GIF from a rose
It's here, folks! The season is starting!
This will be a rough, gritty match, and the first one to flinch will probably lose.
The offense, well, it's not smooth, but it's getting there.
Though they have good intentions, this game isn't going according to plan so far.
A red card, huh? I'm not a fan of that.
Seems like referee Alan Kelly took a quick refresher course right before the match.
We're gonna need a little help now if we wanna win this game.
Okay, yeah, this isn't right.
Hmm, that did not go as expected.
I doubt the Sounders intended on losing this first match.
We got off to a good start but it just went downhill from there.
SKC, your team is bad and you should feel bad.