So the Seattle Sounders are in danger of missing the playoffs. After a blindsiding 2-nil loss to Real Salt Lake in Utah, Seattle’s grip on the postseason is becoming a white-knuckle affair.
Remember that 4-nil victory over Orlando City? Remember how good the Rave Green Kool-Aid tasted? We all thought we’d hit the turnaround, the epiphanic moment when the Sounders got their act together, right? Garth had signed the reinforcements, the old guard was getting healthy, and we were gonna started murdering fools all the way to MLS Cup. And, then, oh yeah, Saturday happened.
I was sucker-punched by the result (and this one hit can’t be blamed on Luke Mulholland). I predicated a 2-0 game… Sounders. Whoops. Sure I knew RSL was getting healthy, I knew it was tough to play at the Riot, but c’mon! RSL had been garbage lately; losing 6-4 and 4-nil, and we were just starting to click. Honestly the result seems inexplicable to me. Inexplicable.
“Goals change games” is a tried-and-true Sigi witticism. And referee Silviu Petrescu gave RSL a gimme with a botched handball call. Sure I’m biased, but rewatch the gif (which I’m sure you’ve done 100s of times); it is a textbook example of ball to hand. That aside, the Sounders couldn’t muster any sort of response. They couldn’t win in the midfield, create any legitimate shots and, worse, merely ball-watched Mulholland’s post banger before Jaime finished it for the killing blow.
I hate the argument “the other team wanted it more”, but… it sure as hell seemed Salt Lake wanted it more. The only Sounders who showed up to play were Friberg, Valdez and Kovar. Those three provided what little offensive spark Seattle enjoyed on the night. Unfortunately Valdez got frustrated and seemed mentally out of it before he was subbed off (he must adapt to MLS’s physical play, as Ross and Kasey noted). Otherwise, the whole team played listless, uninspired boot-and-chase.
After Wednesday night’s righteous result, the Sounders leave us bitter. Even in 2013, the playoffs were almost always a given. Now? Not so much. Since June 13th, Seattle’s banked all of 6 points and time is running out. For better or worse, the #Sigiout crowd has returned full-throated. I think such beliefs are a little premature, but if we can’t beat the teams “worse” than us us, how the hell do we expect to make the playoffs?