Sounders Win! Sounders Win!
Box score certainties aside, Saturday felt victorious. The game was a testament to the grit and heart of the All-New All-Different Sounders. You’ve gotta feel good about this team. Despite five shapes in five games dictated by injuries and suspensions, Team Rave Green gets it done. They may be finding an identity for a while, but their fight cannot be questioned. When games matter, these Sounders will be juggernauts.
We stole two points from Portland and started our road trip with a result. In another reality, the game finished 4-2 Timbers, and Scott Bakula is ambling about righting wrongs. I was already imagining this post and dreading it. The Timbers would have won four straight with an aggregate score of 10-5. After last season’s playoff massacre, the balance of power in Cascadia was tilting precariously. From the Urruti goal until the 70th minute, Portland was toying with us. It was disgusting. Timbers unquestioned Kings of Cascadia. But our boys run through walls. Wave after wave of Sounders came crashing at the Timbers. Dempsey and Oba put the team on their backs.
Yesterday’s game was a rare treat, one of the reasons you dedicate a slice of your heart to a team. Fandom is an active sacrament, but life and all its realities threaten to take you away from your team. Many times I’ve needed to go out of my way to catch a significant game. Whether watching a bootleg stream on my laptop in a Starbucks in Belfair, or staring at a silent screen tucked a corner of the Red Lion in Spokane, I kept vigil.
My wife and I had driven up Chuckanut and were spending the weekend in Bellingham. We knew we weren’t missing Sounders-Portland. Even during our honeymoon, we hadn’t missed the Cascadia Clash (a deflating away draw that featured a helluva strike by Montero). We caught the game at the Copper Hog, a gastropub and THE place to watch the Sounders in B-Ham. We broke bread with lots of folks and met Hooligan Ron. The tension was tight and things got giddy when Deuce pulled us within one. Glasses broke, chants of “two more goals” rang out and a girl in a Portland shirt left crying (okay, that’s a lie. She toughed it out.).
Deuce is a stud. Portland fans are bitter, whining about our $8 million man who wills victory. Tough. That’s a perk of big city life. We can afford to pay world-class talent, though it feels weird bragging about it.
Yedlin is a proud son of the 206. But Nagbe owned him early. Yedlin has lots of talent. Lots. He is, however, still developing. His speed masks many of his deficiencies, but matched against Nagbe, the speed doesn’t favor him and he’s exposed. Maybe the 4-3-3 ask too much of Yedlin, putting him on an island against Nagbe. When Nagbe came off, Yedlin finally came alive and was able to assert his will. He worried less about his defensive responsibilities, and could attack, attack. His positioning and play was frustrating early, but his hustle and heart (and face) pulled us through at the end.
Reportedly, Yedlin and Porter have exchanged bitter words the last two games at Portland. Is there some beef between the two going back to Akron? Could be hearsay, could be a Richard Sherman/John Harbaugh thing. All I know is, Yedlin plays for keeps against TPFC.
Ozzie MUST be injured. He was not himself in the midfield. He wore that chunky hammy wrap the last few games, but ditched it on Saturday. Is he not recovered from his injury? I hope he doesn’t need a game off, because…
Ugh. Michael Azira may very well be a fine player one day. But I do not want him starting again any time soon. Sigi went with the shape that’d been working the last couple of games, the 4-3-3. This put Azira on the pitch at the expense of Neagle. Never again. Play people not shapes Sigi. Neagle tore this game open, and his place in the 11 is sacrosanct.
Caleb Porter is an ass. I love seeing him get all sad face.
Jalil Anibaba fouled up a few times, sure. Let’s not dub him the new whipping boy. With him and Leo in the lineup, the backline had two new players. Growing pains, that’s all.
Deuce. ‘Nuff Said.