As a human being living on this fine planet of mine, I'm resigned to certain eventualities. Each day I will be older than the last, until finally my body expires. Children do not generally have the vast pool of knowledge and experiences that are afforded to the adults of the world, which is why they eat dirt, put their hands on hot stoves, or explore life with the reckless abandonment only available to those who simply do not know better. But as we age, we recognize things that are dangerous, hazardous, or could potentially shorten our already numbered days. We know this because we have experience navigating this complicated world in which we live.
Due to these advantages of experience, as adults we are better equipped to face our own realities, our own limitations. We are able to determine what we are and what we are not; what we can do and what we cannot do. For instance, I am not an astronaut and cannot possibly become an astronaut. If NASA shows up at my door today and tells me that directly, I'd probably make a stupid face and say something eloquent like, "Uhh, okay." But had NASA told the elementary-aged version of me that I would never become an astronaut, I probably would have sullenly pouted for the next three or four weeks, eventually coming out of it after I forgot why I was upset in the first place. Alternatively, I cannot have more than a few drinks without it ruining my tomorrow, nor can I stay up all night drinking apple Schnappes and playing Tekken 2.
It's just something that happens when you get older, you become aware of what you're capable of doing, capable of becoming. However, that awareness extends beyond our own understanding of ourselves, as we recognize patterns around us. If I'm watching someone attempt to parallel park, I can tell within seconds if it will be successful or not. We apply the lessons we learn from our own experiences or witnessing successes or failures of others.
It is through this process of learning and growing that I can look at this current iteration of the Seattle Sounders objectively and subjectively. From a subjective viewpoint, I look at the Sounders and I say that they've been unlucky, that they have played better than their record would indicate and regression alone should bring them back into the playoff mix. Objectively, the Sounders are not very good; they are a flawed team whose struggles to field a consistently threatening offense have resorted to them being the team with the worst goal differential in the West. The Seattle Sounders are in 9th place, well outside the playoffs.
If one were so inclined, they could throw their hands up in the air and call the season over today, 14 games played out of 34. They can do this not due to irrationality but instead based upon observational patterns. Through a string of 14 games, the Seattle Sounders haven't been good. It is not an unreasonable assumption to apply this same assessment of the season over the remainder of the 20 games: a flawed team will continue to be a flawed team; a 9th place team will forever remain a 9th place team.
This line of reasoning is perfectly valid, however it is not one I subscribe to, but not because I have blinders on and feel that this Sounders team is a good team. Simply put, this version of the Seattle Sounders hasn't been good enough. But where I differ in opinion is not just in looking at the players alone for my assessment of their future prospects, instead I look at the people who instruct the players, the people who are responsible for making changes, and it is here where I can find some hope.
Sigi Schmid is a good coach, and his patterns throughout history support this fact. Out of the 16 seasons Sigi has been a coach in MLS, his teams have made it into the playoffs 14 times. With the Sounders, he's a perfect 7 out of 7. This isn't to say that Sigi is the coach of the future or that he's not to blame for the troubles of this season, but instead it is merely a reminder that Seattle's coach has track record of accomplishing the goal so many see as being currently unattainable: bring his team to the playoffs. It wouldn't be unreasonable to assume that he is capable of leading the Sounders to success.
Another facet that gives me hope is the Sounders own ability to access themselves regarding their own limitations, and they have done just that, indicating that they are looking to fix the flaws of this team; that they aim to achieve this fix sooner rather than later is a good sign too. Instead of being an organization that lives and dies by the decisions of the past, they're always adapting, mutating to become a better whole. That the Sounders have been linked to players who would instantly address flaws, making the team better attests to the reality that they are aware. Players like Nicolas Lodeiro, Sebastian Blanco, or Jeisson Vargas can join this team and resuscitate this season.
As fans, we are afforded the rights to display our fandom in many different ways. Much like the diversity of the Sounders fan base, how we celebrate and how we mourn take many different forms. Though despite that fact, it is important to note that the Sounders have consistently shown the willingness to do what needs to be done to right the ship, to make the tough decisions that need to be made.
There exists a possibility the Sounders won't make the playoffs this season, which would be a tough pill to swallow. However, with the passion, zeal, and drive the front office has for this team to find success, along with the resources available to chase that success, any failures endured by this organization will be short lived. Good processes have been built here in Seattle, and with good processes comes good results.
And remember folks, you'll never yacht alone.
The Greenest GIFS are in Seattle
I'm so jazzed for a Sounders game. It's been too long!
We're gonna need Stefan Frei to be stout if we want to win today.
Kind of a cheap goal to give up, and against the run of play. Oh well, it's still early.
I have a novel idea, Sounders. Maybe, I dunno, put a shot on target perhaps?
And now the Sounders allow another goal that should have never happened.
The Sounders are dominating, but now they're losing by 2 goals?
Sure, we're losing, but we're not playing bad. We can salvage this.
Who is this Mike Grella guy anyway?
Is Seattle even trying anymore?
Seriously, this is pretty listless.
They're just so resigned.
I'm not even sure what motivates them anymore.
We had such promise, but we damned ourselves.
I just don't even know how to feel about that second half.
I wonder what our future prospects look like now.
Not that far into the future, just like, ya'know, the immediate future.