First off, congrats to Cam Weaver on being re-signed as a Sounder. That’s gotta feel good, local boy comes home. I am not too optimistic about what he brings as a player, but am mighty excited by what he brings as a “culture carrier.” Weaver is a man who knows what it means to be Eternal Blue, Forever Green.
Second off, if you missed last Saturday’s game, then you missed an epic tifo. I’ll do a tifo piece in the future. Just check this out and respect.
And on that note, we cue the music:
I have fumed about Sigi’s substitution decisions many times in the past. I usually think they are too little too late. Often I’m left wondering if injecting a sub or shaking the lineup sooner would’ve yielded different results. On Saturday, I was mighty confused by all of the substitutions. The later two were classic Sigi: Chad Barrett in the 76th minute and Sean Okoli in the 86th (the familiar “really?! what is a player going to do with just 4+ minutes?”). Maybe this is results-based analysis, but… they sure look like great decisions now. However, I was really befuddled by the decision to play Clint Dempsey for over half an hour. He replaced Marco Pappa in the 57th minute, and that seemed too early for a man with Deuce’s recent flight itinerary.
FYI, I am more of a soccer newbie here. My fuming at Sigi is less informed regarding subs or tactics than it is against, say, Andy Reid and his proclivity for the ill-timed time out. I have only been following the Sounders since 2010, and soccer since the 2006 World Cup (oh Ghana, how you wound me!).
Dempsey played 90 minutes in London 7 days prior, and 90+ in Cyprus 3 days before. I’ve seen the maps and charts, Cyprus is WAAAYY over there. I don’t want to “Oba” Dempsey. It was great last March to see our flashy new signing jump right off a plane and into the match against Portland. But it wasn’t fun to watch his torrid start crumble to an injury-riddled halt.
On top of that, I’m just not sold on Dempsey yet. I was so stoked to see the new squad, but Dempsey was an afterthought. Oh yeah, we still have that guy. He just doesn’t feel like a Sounder yet. Last season it was a surreal dream come true. Dempsey, Captain America, stud in the EPL was signing with my team. I didn’t exactly believe it then, it was just so much to digest. Between #Dempseywatch and the theatrics right before the Dallas game I was in shock (that weekend my wife and I were in Spokane for a wedding. We heard the official news at the reception, bought tickets that night, woke up extra early, left our friends and rocked the 90 straight to the C-Link and into our seats). It was so worth it, even with all of Joe Roth’s cheesy showmanship.
Dempsey didn’t deliver last season. Yes there are mitigating factors and excuses. Yes, MLS midseason additions fare much better in their second season. I understand all of that. But you expect transcendence, not trouble adjusting and injuries. You want a buzzsaw, but you get a player with 1 goal in half a season. The weird thing is, these are not the reasons why I don’t buy Dempsey yet. I am not trying to be a hater. I am not trying to be the typically frustrated sports fan who crucifies the franchise. It’s more cognitive dissonance. Deep in my gut, I feel that we are not worthy. That MLS and the Sounders are not big time yet. Why would Dempsey descend from Olympus to join a lowly MLS squad? So I don’t even see Dempsey as part of the franchise, let alone the franchise. Is Dempsey a Sounder?
What does it take to be a Sounder? To represent the crest? Even with all of Eddie’s drama, he felt like a Sounder. Was it because he played hard against Portland? Mauro Rosales felt like a Sounder. Why? I want to do a whole post on the ethos of Mauro Rosales. Dempsey… still feels like Joe Montana on Kansas City: a historical fact, but not a gut “truth.” Maybe I’m holding him to a different standard. Maybe I’ll forget this unease when he scores 20 goals or leads us to the Cup?
Despite the travel and the potential wear, I am actually glad Sigi put him in. He looked great, and arguably played his best game as a Sounder. And that is just it. Put him in coach. Play him. Make him a Sounder.