Following the disheartening loss over the weekend, when the Seattle Sounders traveled to America's capital to face D.C. United on short rest, few expected anything more than another disappointing result from a match on the road. What greeted us, however, was something a bit of a delight, as the Sounders ultimately won the match 2-0. While that scoreline would indicate it was potentially a fairly comfortable victory, it was not. But you know this. You watched the game, you've read the recaps, you know what happened.
To me, the silver lining to this result wasn't that the Sounders won their first road match of the season, but instead I was comforted and encouraged by the fact that this game was much like the majority of the games we've played so far this season. The Sounders didn't dominate, the Sounders weren't dominated, instead it was a back and forth match where for the first 80 minutes, it could go either way. Other than perhaps the San Jose match, every game has been tense until the very end, but even the match against the Earthquakes had a late penalty against us that could've made things a little more tense.
I know I'm not being clear, so let me break it down. The Sounders have been competitive in every game this season, with an opportunity to win or draw the match late. They've not been blown out, they haven't blown any team out, and for the majority of these games, the results have not gone our way. But finally, on Wednesday night, the Sounders powered through and persevered. A shrewd substitution jumpstarted what was already looking like a competent offense and goalkeeper Bill Hamid could only do so much. Jordan Morris scored, becoming the all-time leading rookie scorer for the Sounders surpassing Michael Tetteh and Andrew Duran. Joevin Jones finally listened to what all us couch-coaches have been saying all along and shot the ball, netting his first goal of the season.
This win buoyed our confidence in the team going forward. It also showcased a win where our young players made significant contributions and played a huge part in this victory. All these players: Jones, Morris, Cristian Roldan, Dylan Remick, Aaron Kovar, Tony Alfaro; they're all 25 years or younger. You could even throw in Osvaldo Alonso into that group because he played like he was 10 years younger, absolutely destroying the transition game of DCU. It's been since 2011 that the Sounders had so many young contributors.
I know the first few months of this season have been quite dire. It's hard to see any light at the end of the tunnel when you're not scoring goals or even looking goal threatening, but I've been saying all year that our defense will keep us competitive, it will allow us to be in every game.
As of this moment, the Sounders have allowed 15 goals, 4 of which were penalties, so let's make that 11. 2 of those were offsides by Colorado in the 3-1 loss, so that's 9 goals now. Another goal was birthed from the armpit of Stefan Frei, so now we're down to 8. And another goal was allowed against RSL when Tyler Miller forgot he's allowed to have personal space, so now we're looking at 7 goals. Houston had that Giles Barnes "Oh yeah I guess I can kick this" goal -- 6. New England had that Fifi-fufu-fafa goal where he scored after having a sit down -- 5. I could go all day. What I'm saying, through 13 games so far this season, the Sounders have allowed, in my esteem, only 5 legitimate goals. The rest have been cheap, sloppy, or assisted by referees.
If the Sounders can continue growing an attack that resembles competent, while at the same time tightening its defense and not allowing almost 1 cheap-ass goal per game, I can see the Sounders earning -- wait, how many games are left in the season, 21? -- 63 more points to end the season at 79. I think that's good enough to win the Shield, yeah?
Look, the Sounders are gonna sign Nicolas Lodeiro. Garth Lagerway pretty much said, without actually saying it (and with me reading between the lines), that they've already got that whole DP thing figured out. While he might not set you all aquiver just by name alone, you'll be happy he's on our squad and you'll be amazed at what he will allow the rest of our team to accomplish. But even without him, the Sounders have the talent to win, and with a few players coming back from injury soon, I can see Seattle going on a bit of a run and the rest of the league clenching their collective buttocks.
I'm not gonna tell you that the Sounders are back. I'm not gonna yell at you to Get Hype. But I will say that Wednesday night's victory was the first of the season where I really saw the clouds begin to part and the sun begin to shine down upon this fine team of ours. We beat a team on the road, on short rest, by shutting them out and scoring two late goals. That's a thing good teams do.
Never gonna GIF you up
Wednesday afternoon game? Gotta hurry to get home from work!
These teams usually play close, low-scoring games. I don't expect anything different this time.
Are there any goals out here to be found? Hello?
A non-deliberate handball in the box and we didn't get a penalty called on us? What does it mean?!
The offense is getting close but then just failing at the end.
It's a good thing Alonso is just straight up killing it out there.
Oh this feels like one of those games where the Sounders fall on their face and give up a late goal.
A goal! By Morris!
With that late goal, we might actually get out of here with some points.
Jones, man, coming in and putting the team on his back and scoring a goal.
A road win?
This victory sure does feel nice.
Now it's time to head into this break riding high.