Your Seattle Sounders held off a pesky FC Dallas in a gritty nil-nil affair at a rocking CenturyLink Field. The stadium was loud but really, the Sounders could’ve saved us all a little teeth clenching and heart palpitating by just finishing one of their many quality shots. Or, you know, they could’ve possessed better for the last twenty minutes instead of gifting the ball to Dallas again and again for yet another whiteknuckle siege. Instead the game was one unlucky bounce (or better-sold flop job from Escobar) away from heartbreak late into the night.
After celebration and relief, my first instinct was to be upset with the result. I never, ever in my wildest dreams expected a nil-nil draw. We’re the Sounders, we score goals. Then I checked myself. If we were Italy and expected clean sheets and gritty victories, we’d be over joyed. The attack-first mindset only gets you so far (right Caleb Porter?). The last four games, Seattle’s become a team that gets the result the context dictates. The Sounders are playing the antithesis of Porterball, it’s not play the pretty way, it’s play to win. We lost Ozzie (and jeez was that terrifying), we got jobbed on some serious calls, and got snuffed on some quality chances, and yet we still left the field victorious. Seattle is playing mature, professional soccer at the right time. We took care of Dallas and are one step closer to MLS Cup.
The Western Conference Final pits #1 Seattle against #2 L.A. MLS must be salivating at this marquee fixture. The soccer media in the United States will have two weeks to whip themselves into a fury over Dempsey vs. Donovan, LD rides into the sunset, Arena vs. Sigi, Seattle vs. their past; the story lines are endless. For us here in Seattle, this is the matchup Sounders fans have a love/hate relationship with. We want the opportunity to punch L.A. in the mouth again, but if any team is gonna derail our Treble dreams, it’s Bruce Arena and the Gals. Part of me was afraid that our Shield chasing would meet an ugly end against the Galaxy, but our home-and-home that clinched it showed anything but. Unlike previous seasons, Seattle can dance with these guys.
The Western Conference Finals is a rematch of 2012 when Robbie Keane out-clevered us with that handball in the rain. But this series will be very different. L.A. and Seattle are two teams on a mission. L.A. wants one more ride out of Keane and the (can’t-come-soon-enough) retiring Donovan. Seattle has Deuce trying to win his first club championship with Yedlin still Stateside. When these two take the pitch two weeks from yesterday in Carson, there will be no holds barred.