Month – July 2015

Travels In Cascadia: Rave Green Portland Jersey Test

Sorry for the irregular posting schedule Seattle Sounders fans. I’m across enemy lines in PeeTown for a friend’s wedding.

Portland is a great city, if you don’t have to live there. Just roll in,  find trouble, and roll out. Southeast especially is good for getting in trouble: sour beers at Cascade, hot dogs at Zach’s Shack, black lights in the Space Room and tax-free Magic cards at Guardian Games. Oh my!

But the real trouble I’m looking for is sartorial. I’m rocking my Pitch Black Sounders kit around town. All day. This isn’t needless provocation, it’s a social experiment. I’ll post updates throughout the day.

UPDATE: Walking around Portland rocking my Rave Green and not a single denizen of the Rose City has commented on my Sounders gear. I haven’t even gotten a dirty glance. Where’s your pride Portland?


Buying poetry at the second-best bookstore in Cascadia (love my Elliott Bay).


About to get a kooky and overrated donut (it’s no Top Pot).

Seattle Sounders Stadium Expose Part 3

The drama surrounding the Seattle Sounders isn’t going to let up any time soon. Is a 4th DP coming soon to a stadium near you? Will the offense get its groove back? Have we seen the last of Marco Pappa? When will Oba come back? All of these questions beg answers, but in today’s post I am going to explore a different inquiry.

Remember those old Marvel What If comics? (The best was when Wolverine became “Lord of the Vampires,” that was a great comic!). Earlier in the month I ran a stadium series. In the first post I explored the economic impact of CenturyLink Field, in the second, the utility and value of the stadium. To conclude I ask a simple question: What if the Sounders were the sole tenant of CenturyLink Field?

The Seahawks rule the stadium roost. Paul Allen and First and Goal Inc., are the final arbiters of the pitch at CenturyLink. The Seahawks refuse to play on grass (or even fresh FieldTurf), and so be it. Most soccer purists want the Sounders to play on natural grass. It is simply a better surface and carries the cachet that a #hellagreedy club desires. Difficult? Yes, but so is winning 4 US Open Cups in 6 years. Expensive? Yes, but so is signing Clint Dempsey and Obafemi Martins. Logistically impossible? Hell no, the Green Bay Packers play on grass on the 44th parallel in the snow. If the Sounders want to be the Packers of soccer, they need to make grass work. Problem is, the city of Seattle will never vote for another stadium.

Seattle has a fraught history with funding stadiums. It started back in the 1960s when the public refused to fund the Kingdome, not once but twice!, continued through the ‘90s when the public refused to fund Safeco Field (before the State Legislature rammed the funding through) and into the 2000s when the Sonics held the city hostage for a new arena before… well we all know how that ended.

Therefore I submit a modest proposal. Since Seattle won’t foot the bill for a separate soccer-specific stadium, we need Renton to step up. Not for the Sounders but the Seahawks. Remember when I noted that CenturyLink is over the hill? Let’s say the Seahawks get jealous of the 49ers’s new big digs in the ‘burbs (Levis Stadium sits 68,000 but can expand to a whopping 83,000! CLink is only 67k to 72k). So maybe Paul Allen wants a stadium big (80k) like he likes his yachts. We don’t have room in city limits, so the Hawks (like the Niners) look to the ‘burbs. The Seahawks’ headquarters and training complex is already in Renton, the stadium would be a final complement. King County votes (flush with the Seahawks’ recent success) and the unjaded (stadium-wise) citizens of Renton are more than happy to have the Hawks in their backyard.

All of a sudden, downtown Seattle would belong to the Sounders (sorry baseball fans). With First and Goal Inc. out of the picture, there’s nothing to stop Adrian and Co. from finally getting grass. Imagine that: a franchise looking to soar firmly planted on solid ground.


Deja Vu in Montreal: Seattle Sounders Stumble Late

The Seattle Sounders lost to the Montreal Impact 1-0 on Saturday. You know the tune: Seattle gave up another late goal and coughed up the result. Seattle now has its second 0-3 run. That’s two in the last 7 games. This isn’t getting worse than the collapse in 2013. This is worse.

The frustrating part is the team isn’t completely broke. The defensive again played fine. The keepers, whether Frei or Perkins, have been solid (poor Troy Perkins. After his third start between the pipes, he finds himself with an 0-3 record despite only 1 GAA). The backline, even with Scott and some Fisher, Ockford, and Leo, has been solid. Omitting the late collapse in Portland, we have only given up 6 goals in 6 games.

The midfield, despite changing formations and mercurial lineups, is working. We possessed and cycled much better against Montreal. Ozzie is finally looking like a rock star again. He was everywhere between both boxes and destroying. Friberg is slowly shaking off his preseason rust, as he kept find space to exploit and tried to spring open the forwards.

The forwards… The Seattle Sounders, Hail Hydra itself, couldn’t score peanuts at the ballpark. Our forwards don’t run. Our forwards provide no off-the-ball movement. Our forwards don’t finish. Chad Barrett has been an afterthought and Neagle is no better. I am a Neagle fan, but he just hasn’t been good enough. Who would’ve thought that Seattle’s biggest problem at the midpoint of the season would be its inability to score? An inability to score so profound that it poisons the whole team.

Sigi is livid at the offensive protection, or lack thereof. In his postgame interview, he said, “We’ve gone 270 minutes without goal…. we’re not forcing saves… Some guys probably need to go to the bench.” He will get to make good on that benching threat this weekend. With Dempsey and Evans back from the Gold Cup, the selection might actually be dangerous again. At least for this weekend.

The Sounders play 7 games in the next 5 weeks with CCL group play starting. Sure, July stunk, but August might as well. Even with reinforcements to the lineup (the return of the USMNTers, Oba getting healthier, Adrian Hanauer seemingly working on a transfer for a goal-dangerous player), Sigi is going to have to get creative managing minutes. Again.


Seattle Sounders at Montreal Impact: Terrible Reruns

The Seattle Sounders show has been nothing but terrible reruns lately. Again the Sounders will field a motley lineup, now growing more desiccate, and again face an underwhelming opponent (this time the Montreal Impact). We are all tuning in because, you know, that is the masochistic part of fandom. We forever cede all agency and subject our emotional and mental state to a contest that we cannot affect.

The Sounders haven’t just been losing. They’ve been losing in maddeningly similar fashion. The ol’ cliché is “The definition of insanity is doing the exact same, thing but expecting different results.” The Sounders are driving us all mad.

The numbers: Seattle has lost 6 of their last 8. That’s 6 points from 24 for a grisly .75 ppg. In 5 of those 6 losses, the overwhelmed reserves acquitted themselves reasonably well (acquitted themselves reasonably well, how’s that for rhetoric and equivocation?), only to see the result slip away in the final quarter (or even later) of the contest. Only the 2-nil San Jose loss was over before the hour mark. The Sounders have repeatedly strung along the Rave Green faithful with the thought that a result could be salvaged, as every other match played late to a draw, a result within Seattle’s grasp. But then… nada.

The Litany of Losses:

  • 84th minute goal to the Colorado Rapids
  • 90+ stoppage time goal to the Chicago Fire
  • 74th, 76th, 90+ minutes goals to the Portland Timbers
  • 69th minute goal to the Philadelphia Union
  • 84th minute goal to Sporting Kansas City

C’mon Seattle. Fight and Win. Instead we’ve been subjected to “fight, then lose” (except for the Chicago game where the order of the day was “stink, then lose”)

My preview of Montreal yesterday was admittedly poor. But all of these opponents are starting to blur together. All these games and all these losses are blurring together. I think of the shot from Trainspotting where Ewan McGregor sits in the pub post-recovery and the world speeds around him. At least Portland piled it on (darkest humor mode) to spice things up. All of this makes me think Montreal’s Jack McInerney will slot one past Perkins in the, oh… 85th minute to take all three points on a 1-0 result. Thus Quote Nietzsche:

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; and there will be nothing new in it, but every pain and every joy and every thought and sigh and everything unutterably small or great in your life will have to return to you, all in the same succession and sequence … Would you not throw yourself down and gnash your teeth and curse the demon who spoke thus?

Bold Prediction: You want bold? How about Seattle magically sneaks one past Bush in the 13th minute (numerology!) and they somehow manage to hold the lead. Let’s flip the script. C’mon Seattle. Fight and flipthescript. Throw yourself, gnash your teeth and curse the demon. That would make one helluva ending.


Seattle Sounders at Montreal Impact: Quick Preview

The Seattle Sounders face the Montreal Impact this weekend in beautiful Quebec. Montreal has played a start-and-stop season so far. They shook the world western hemisphere MLS with their inspired run to the CCL Final. But their form in MLS has been anything but inspired.

Centerback Laurent Ciman is a rock on the back line and has, almost single-handedly, kept Montreal’s season from falling apart. Of course, the Sounders are in the middle of their fall apart.

Clint Dempsey will be on the field when the Sounders face the Impact. Unfortunately he’ll be 450 miles southeast in Chester PA, which means the Sounders will again struggle to score goals (both Sigi and the President of Soccer have mentioned the need to add goal scorers). Luckily Montreal hemorrhages goals, but they do feature a potential MLS Best XI CB in Laurent.

We all just keep hoping for the “second half” turnaround to start, it could, realistically, this weekend in Montreal. But we though that last week. And the week before.

Thursday Notes

Hi Raving Readers. I do want to apologize for my spotty posting schedule over the last few days. My household is in the middle of a family emergency. Below are just my quick thoughts on the latest news:

The USMNT lost to Jamaica in the Gold Cup semifinals. This is an ignoble milestone for the US, as only invited CONMEBOL teams and Mexico have knocked us out before. It is no secret that I don’t like Jurgen Klinsmann. I am licking my chops writing a #Jurgenout out, especially considering Bob Bradley was axed by US Soccer for a far less cardinal sin (losing to Mexico in the final).

Speaking of Mexico… wow. CONCACAF. Check out everyone’s favorite ref Mark Geiger screw the pooch on this monstrous call.

Finally… Thanks oPappa.

Catching up in Cascadia: The Wrong Color Green #3

Your favorite Seattle Sounders and Portland Timbers podcast is back!

In today’s episode, Bob and I chat about new signings, both teams’ recent runs of form, and look forward to the culmination of both the Cascadia Cup and MLS seasons. And yes, we take various potshots at each other.

This episode was especially fun becasue I flew to the northern border of Cascadia, Anchorage, Alaska, to record live with Bob. Enjoy!

Wrong Color Green: Episode #3.


Seattle Sounders (Slip and) Fall to Colorado Rapids

The Seattle Sounders lost again in maddening fashion Saturday night to the Colorado Rapids. It was another late goal conceded to an underwhelming (I am really running out of adjectives here) opponent. Let’s be real, the Rapids stole a goal late.

We’ve now lost 5 of 6 and have tumbled down the table to 5th. Worse–we’re tied with Portland on points-per-game. Though Seattle was comfortably leading the West back on June 19th, teams like LA Galaxy (WWLWW), FC Dallas (DWWWW), and Sporting KC (WLWWW) have all been on a recent tear.

Surprisingly, the Sounders’ attack looked crisp for the first time in a long time. The second half saw Seattle’s best ball movement. The attack actually looked competent. Thomas had a solid shot on goal, and the Sounders constantly got the ball in dangerous places and bouncing around the box. Unfortunately, they couldn’t finish. Hopefully we are seeing the swan song of underachieving replacement starters. The Sounders will be getting healthy (Oba), match-fit (Friberg and Ozzie), and players returned (Deuce and B-Rad).

Friberg started slow and often times I lost him for stretches of the game. But when clicking, he brought solid possession-oriented flow to the attack. I said it last week, but Roldan is finally looking like a solid contributor. Too often in his earlier games he was easily dispossessed. He looked great against the Rapids, he saw the field well and completed 79% of his passes (he is improving) and the majority of his passes were in the attacking third. Micheal Azira was not in the 18. I know it is some schadenfreude on my part, but I am glad he got benched. I kinda imagine Sigi giving him a firm talking to (not that there is much Azira could’ve done better over the last month, he is what he is).

I would be remiss to not mention the playing conditions during the match. The chewed-up temporary sod surface laid on the FieldTurf made for a sloppy soccer match. Players were slip-sliding away like mad. This caused both promising Colorado and Seattle forays to falter. But again, late in the game, it was the Sounders who really fell down.


Colorado Rapids at Seattle Sounders

In Sodo, on fake turf turf, the Seattle Sounders will once again test their depth and supporters’ nerves. The Colorado Rapids are another potential “very beatable but beat us in frustrating fashion opponent.

BOLD PREDICTION: The Rapids attack has benefitted from the recent lineup change. The Sounders lineup is always changing. Draw 1-1.

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