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Postgame Pontifications: Finally, something good

The Sounders got their first win, and it was a good one. Let’s all enjoy that for a minute.

Last Updated
3 min read
Max Aquino / Sounder at Heart

SEATTLE – You may have noticed that Jeremiah is away on vacation – we’ve got our research team looking into any possible connections between his absence and the team’s performance, and in the case of a connection any way of keeping him where he is for the foreseeable future – so I’m stepping in for this week’s Postgame Pontifications. I was fully prepared to get weird in this space if the team couldn’t pull out of the skid that they were in, but with an emphatic win we’re going in a different direction.

The Seattle Sounders, six games into the 2024 season, have their first win. They did it with aplomb, getting four different players in the goals column, had a couple of highlight reel goals, and imposed their will throughout the proceedings. To make things even better, João Paulo made his first appearance of the season and looked much like his old self. It’s something to celebrate.

Early Spring is an odd time in Seattle. It’s still wet and/or gray more often than not and, while the region is verdant and green year-round, at the start of Spring you get this interesting mix of foliage alongside the evergreens. Many trees still sit leafless as we crawl out of the Winter months, but sporadically you have new growth popping up around them.

The cherry blossoms are doing their thing, and all around if you go for a walk in your neighborhood you inevitably encounter blooms. On the occasional sunny day you’re reminded of why this place is such a magical place to be, and everything feels right for a little while.

In some ways, that’s what the game against Montreal was. There had been brief glimpses of sunlight – false Springs that were abruptly dashed away by a return of rain – as the Sounders scored multiple goals for the first time against the San Jose Earthquakes but crumbled as quickly as they climbed, or earned something of a moral victory despite the loss on the road against the LA Galaxy. Saturday night, though, was something more substantial. Although the rain was literally falling during the game, the figurative sun was shining and new life was blooming under that sun as the team eclipsed their goal total for the season in one glorious night and kept only their second clean sheet of 2024.

Against Montreal the Sounders were absolutely flowing. They were able to deploy a starting group that was as close to their ideal XI as they’ve come so far this season, with everyone in positions that they are at least very familiar with and have spent significant time in recently. They took an early hit with Nouhou coming out due to an injury, but Cody Baker’s introduction in his place may have actually allowed the team to lean more fully into the system and style that they seem to want to play as they dominated possession and dictated the way the game was played with how they used the ball. Fullbacks Alex Roldan and Baker had more touches than any other player on the team and used those touches to help get the most dangerous players on the ball in more dangerous places.

It paid dividends to the tune of 5-0.

It was a joy to behold, and we shouldn’t lose sight of that. The start to the season has been bad, there’s no avoiding that. This win isn’t a guarantee that the struggles are over, either. There are certainly reasons to be excited about what this team can be – I personally believe that this performance is much closer to who the Sounders really are than the previous results, but we’re still weighing five bad results against a single good one – but for now, let’s enjoy this game for its own sake.

Nothing is promised; we can’t take good things for granted simply because good things have happened before. It’s easy enough to go too far one direction or another, to completely discount a good game and result because of the bad ones that came before, or to decide out of hand that the struggles are fully behind us because of a rout of a team in a tough spot.

The rain is inevitably going to come again and there are still plenty of bare branches to be seen. But in this moment the sun is shining and everything is good. Take the opportunity to stop and smell the flowers; celebrate in the way you see fit, but savor this while it lasts. There will be more chances to grumble about one thing or another soon enough. For now take the words of the great Vancouver Whitecaps poet, Vanni Sartini, and apply them to this game: