Eternal Return: Sounder Sounders at Vancouver Whitecaps

The Seattle Sounders came back for another thrilling Cascadia Cup draw against the Vancouver Whitecaps.

“What, if some day or night a demon were to steal after you into your loneliest loneliness and say to you: ‘This life as you now live it and have lived it, you will have to live once more and innumerable times more’
– Friedrich Nietzsche

The parallels between Saturday’s game and April’s Portland game are many. Like the last Cascadia derby, Seattle went ahead first (from a gorgeous snap header by the emerging Chad Barrett, who just creates goals whenever he’s on the field), before falling behind (due to some asinine defensive play), and finally equalizing, again on a penalty. Nietzsche’s idea of eternal return haunts the Sounders this year from Cascadian draws to comical defensive gaffes.

Is any team more prone to pitiful collapse at the back then your Seattle Sounders? I watch a lot of MLS soccer games, but maybe not enough. The Sounders seem the most consistently boneheaded team in the league. Vancouver, like Portland, New England, Columbus and Toronto, made the Sounders repeatedly look like the Keystone Cops. Credit the Whitecap’s Erik Hurtado, who showed some skill on his goal, but why was Djimi Traore leaving his feet and crashing into Ozzie Alonso? Like Coach Sigi Schmid said, “Make him earn it.” Then there was Marco Pappa’s “clearance” back to goalkeeper Stefan Frei. Inexplicable enough, but (since we’re in Canada, I’ll use a hockey term), no worse than Frei’s “centering feed” to Gershon Koffie. Does Frei get an assist for that? Granted a backline of Leo Gonzalez, Zach Scott, Brad Evans and Jalil Anibaba is not ideal, especially playing away against a quality attacking side. However, we’ve been saying for weeks “Seattle needs to clean up their defense”, and it hasn’t happened yet.

Yes we are still getting results, but the Sounders juggernaut is slowing down. We are an aggregate 3-2 in our last three games (3-7 if you include the Revs match). An optimist will point to the grittiness of the results and the shuffled lineups, the rest of us are getting a little worried. Maybe we’re being neurotic (still top of the table and all that), but we want an MLS Cup. Is being prone to defensive mishaps just a phase this team is working through, or an inherent liability that will hinder any real silverware collection this Fall? We were exposed by a top team in New England and unbeaten Real Salt Lake will be the next test this Saturday. Both Seattle and Salt Lake are missing top players, but both teams are still a cut above. I am on the record as being nervous (and am becoming quite the prognosticator).

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