The Seattle Sounders and the San Jose Earthquakes played to a dismal and inevitable conclusion. The Sounders lost to San Jose. Again. The Sounders played a duct-tape and bailing wire lineup. Again.
Our record against San Jose is getting absurd. Our best eleven has trouble with the Quakes, and Saturday a very jumbled and tuckered Seattle side played the Quakes tough, even bossing at times. It wasn’t enough. San Jose was ceding possession for most of the game, just waiting for a chance to counter. It paid off for them. Nyassi’s goal against the run of play changed the game, and MPG’s finished it.
More than anything I felt the Sounders were gassed. In the second half we were just cooked, especially Neagle. Neagle played the full 90 against Dallas, 120 against Portland, and then another 90 against San Jose: 300+ minutes in 8 days. Sigi was clearly pushing Neagle. But isn’t this is why we have Barrett, to play the part of veteran striker when Oba or Clint are out? My only problem with Barrett’s role on the team has always been his age. I am starting to wear out this soapbox, but older players get injured (ask the 2003 Oakland Raiders). I’d prefer a Neagle clone, warts and all, to Barrett. Another younger striker you can lean on to eat minutes. The best ability is availability (as the old cliché goes).
It sucks looking at the standings and seeing Portland in third and us treading water. It feels like late 2013, when the wheels were coming off the Rave Green bus. But everything is cool, man. Bill Walsh used to say something about putting wins in the bank. In the NFL, 10 wins normally punches a team’s ticket to the playoffs. During the regular season, that’s about all you can control– a playoff berth. In MLS, you want at least 50 points (1.5 pts per game) to sneak into the playoffs (which should be even easier this season with the 6th seed added to the postseason). Granted, we’re #hellagreedy and would love to double-dip the Shield, but all we really want is MLS Cup. That is still very attainable. So far this season, Seattle has been outstripping the field. We have 29 points halfway through the season; we are only 20 points from the playoffs. We can afford the hiccups that will inevitably come with our continued roster congestion and injury situation.
Granted we don’t want to be scrambling for the postseason like in 2013, but we know we are a solid team. We will have Clint again. Oba will heal. This week, however, may be rough.