How about that? That felt good. Did that feel good? If you can’t get excited about that, I have to ask if you have a pulse. That was a Ric Flair “Woo!” That was as much of a fist pump as a fist pump could fist pump. That was the sweetest of high fives. The Sounders are through to the Western Conference Championship for the third time in four years. How about that? That’s pretty good. Nothing’s done yet, and no one is popping the champagne, but after everything that’s happened this season it’s definitely OK to look yourself in the mirror and strut a bit. Damn, it feels good to be the Seattle freakin’ Sounders.
Nico is one of those players that is just so easy to take for granted as a fan. He’s just so effortlessly good every time he’s on the field that we can sit back and think, “Nico’s got this.” He’s the comfort of a loved one’s hug. He’s a relaxing beach vacation. He’s the best day you’ve ever had. He’s a dream you never want to end.
Last night was one of those games where you are snapped out of that trance and you realize how real he is. In the 5th minute he nailed the crossbar and woke up the stadium.
Lodeiro absolutely balled out the rest of the game, sealing the victory in the 81st minute. Just a gamer. A great captain and an even better player. We’re so lucky to have Lodeiro.
Xavier Arreaga’s substitute appearance
Roman Torres and Kim Kee-hee had a good thing going throughout the first half. They were dealing with RSL’s attack well. In the 50th minute, Torres needed to come off injured with some tightness in his hamstring. At this moment in the match, the chances for things to get insanely weird was very high, especially with the score tied 0-0. Arreaga came in and played pretty darn well, doing a wonderful Torres impression when he needed to and adding some calm possession as well. He played so well that I think his 40-minute cameo earned him the mantle of best defender on the field. This bodes well for the future.
Sending Nick Rimando off with an L
Nick Rimando is an absolute legend and probably the best keeper to play in this league. There have been countless occasions, including last night, where I’ve cursed his name for being so good. It’s a shame he never won Goalkeeper of the Year. I’m happy that we sent him off with a great game. We also found out this:
A surprise revelation (to me anyway) by Nick Rimando postgame: "I've been playing all year with a torn rotator cuff." #RSL— Alex Vejar (@AlexVReporting) October 24, 2019
Chances of Sounders hosting MLS Cup
Look, we’re still a long way off from playing in MLS Cup, let alone hosting it, but the chances of it happening got a huge boost on Wednesday. In addition to the Sounders taking care of business on their side, Toronto FC knocked off one of the two teams in the Eastern Conference who would host a potential matchup. With New York City FC off the board, that leaves Atlanta United as the only Eastern Conference team the Sounders would potentially have to visit for the final. Given the weird nature of this season, I’ll take those odds.
By no means was anything proven last night, but it felt like a huge sigh of relief. I know at times this season most of us have doubted this team’s ability to come through in the clutch. This team is just one step away from MLS Cup, and they’ve reached three Western Conference Finals in four years. It’s a testament to this team’s commitment to win.
Just an awful challenge from Luiz. pic.twitter.com/udpRXCSKvD— Sounder At Heart (@sounderatheart) October 24, 2019
It takes some impressive work to endear yourself to Sounders’ fans after what FC Dallas goalkeeper Jesse Gonzalez managed to do last weekend, but props to Luiz for pulling it off. The tackle was awful, he was an absolute clown walking off the field, and made a fool of himself. Congrats!