Promise? We’re talking about promise?
The Seattle Sounders kept their CCL dreams alive beating Chivas 1-nil Wednesday night.
By all accounts, it was a solid win. Due to fatigue and injury, the Sounders shuffled out a motley eleven, and beat a Chivas side that brought a totally respectable (if not top-choice) lineup to the Emerald City. I never take a win over a Liga MX side for granted. And it was extra heartening to see such young players, Bwana, McCrary, Wingo, all show real promise.
However. I want to see Schmetzer trotting out promise in a gimme league game against San Jose or Minnesota. Blood the boys against chumps! I want to see Bwana “trying shit” and Wingo honing the touch on his cross in more low-stakes settings. But Chivas? You sign TAM players for these games. MLS invented the TAM line item to specifically compete with Liga MX teams and win CCL. Yet Seattle beat Santa Tecla and took a lead against Chivas with only one TAM player (Roman is still getting fit and played his first 90 minutes of 2018) Rodriguez, Leerdam, and Woolf all missed the match.
If I was the President of Soccer sitting in my Emerald Office, I’d be cursing the cruel fortune that had me trotting out a motley mix of vets and babies against an undisputed Super Club. Our lineup last week felt very MLS 1.5: one aging super star (Dempsey), one true DP (Nico), the rest a mix of promising prospects and at-or-around-replacement-level MLS vets. The terribly limited selection (we had Alex Roldan in the 18 for chrissakes!) is really the only reason we had to settle for a 1-0 win.
You read that right: Seattle “settled” for beating a Liga MX. It felt good, but let’s be real: Seattle needed a better home result. Winning away in CCL is hard, like gas station peanut brittle hard. Seattle can do it. We held Chivas without a precious road goal, so any result is a win for us. Even a loss could see us through if we get a goal. But MLS is infamous for going down to Mexico with a legitimate shot only to get blown off the pitch (sometimes I still wake up in the middle of the night shivering and mumbling Santos Laguna, two goals in the first ten minutes). Seattle must keep their cool and weather Chivas’s pride and pedigree. That’s a lot to ask from homegrown players making their second or third professional start.
Long story short: promise won’t be enough to see Seattle through to the semis. Yet Schmetzer should have Woolf available for the tilt in Guadalajara, plus Roman will be more fit. And maybe, just maybe, Rodriguez will be in the 18. If we can field some TAM players, like MLS intended, we got a real chance at knocking off a Liga MX Super Club. Our chances are, shall we say, promising?