Don’t call it a comeback, we’ve been doing this all year.
The Seattle Sounders willed themselves to another result last night, earning a 2-2 draw with the Los Angeles Galaxy. Just a draw on the pitch and in the stats, but a victory in the mythology of the Heroes of the Rave Green.
As Sounders fans, we’ve often wailed and gnashed our teeth that our team is soft. That they lack the grit it takes to win big. Having won only a single two-legged playoff series in five years, and losing big when we lose, takes a psychic toll. The front office was frantic to correct this, signing scattershot quality players. We’ve seen plenty of DPs come and go here in Seattle, and the team’s attitude remained the same.
Then we signed Clint Dempsey. Deuce is an antihero, more Wolverine than Captain America. And he brought a certain “screw you” attitude to the pitch that rewired the makeup of this club. Seattle was no longer driven by the mercurially talented Montero, or the neurotic genius of Eddie, but rather a badass mother who is going to kick and foul and fight and win. Dempsey’s addition spurred the team to unprecedented heights all season. The Sounders acted like winners and played like it. This season’s earlier dominance went a long way to dispelling the older Sounders narrative. Then Vancouver happened.
After losing the Cascadia Cup at home, while seriously jeopardizing our chance for the Shield, I feared we’d finally be revealed as pretenders and phonies and wannabes. Then last night in the 60th minute, the other shoe was about to drop. Seattle looked nearly flatlined. Having given up sloppy goals right before and after the break, away at a historically great opponent, the game was seemingly over. Sounders fans’ deepest fears were finally manifest.
But then again, they weren’t. Another Sounders team would’ve given up. A different team would’ve packed it in, but these Sounders are winners. They’ve done this before. It felt like it was April and I was at a bar in Bellingham watching the comeback against Portland all over again. I felt like it was last month, and we were icing the US Open Cup in extra time. These Sounders come back. These Sounders ain’t got a bit of quit in them. Lead by Deuce and Oba, Seattle scored two stellar goals to earn the draw. We attacked, we defended, we set the tempo.
Seattle is playing for more than Supporters’ Shield and a the #1 spot in the West. They are playing for posterity, the mythology, for the collective unconscious of Sounders fans everywhere. We are a flashy team, with sharp kits and big names. But we want to be known for more than that. We want tales told of our glory. We want to be remembered as champions.