Month – March 2018

Seattle Sounders Settle for Promise

Promise? We’re talking about promise?

The Seattle Sounders kept their CCL dreams alive beating Chivas 1-nil Wednesday night.

By all accounts, it was a solid win. Due to fatigue and injury, the Sounders shuffled out a motley eleven, and beat a Chivas side that brought a totally respectable (if not top-choice) lineup to the Emerald City. I never take a win over a Liga MX side for granted. And it was extra heartening to see such young players, Bwana, McCrary, Wingo, all show real promise.

However. I want to see Schmetzer trotting out promise in a gimme league game against San Jose or Minnesota. Blood the boys against chumps! I want to see Bwana “trying shit” and Wingo honing the touch on his cross in more low-stakes settings. But Chivas? You sign TAM players for these games. MLS invented the TAM line item to specifically compete with Liga MX teams and win CCL. Yet Seattle beat Santa Tecla and took a lead against Chivas with only one TAM player (Roman is still getting fit and played his first 90 minutes of 2018) Rodriguez, Leerdam, and Woolf all missed the match.

If I was the President of Soccer sitting in my Emerald Office, I’d be cursing the cruel fortune that had me trotting out a motley mix of vets and babies against an undisputed Super Club. Our lineup last week felt very MLS 1.5: one aging super star (Dempsey), one true DP (Nico), the rest a mix of promising prospects and at-or-around-replacement-level MLS vets. The terribly limited selection (we had Alex Roldan in the 18 for chrissakes!) is really the only reason we had to settle for a 1-0 win.

You read that right: Seattle “settled” for beating a Liga MX. It felt good, but let’s be real: Seattle needed a better home result. Winning away in CCL is hard, like gas station peanut brittle hard. Seattle can do it. We held Chivas without a precious road goal, so any result is a win for us. Even a loss could see us through if we get a goal. But MLS is infamous for going down to Mexico with a legitimate shot only to get blown off the pitch (sometimes I still wake up in the middle of the night shivering and mumbling Santos Laguna, two goals in the first ten minutes). Seattle must keep their cool and weather Chivas’s pride and pedigree. That’s a lot to ask from homegrown players making their second or third professional start.

Long story short: promise won’t be enough to see Seattle through to the semis. Yet Schmetzer should have Woolf available for the tilt in Guadalajara, plus Roman will be more fit. And maybe, just maybe, Rodriguez will be in the 18. If we can field some TAM players, like MLS intended, we got a real chance at knocking off a Liga MX Super Club. Our chances are, shall we say, promising?

Seattle Sounders 2018 Home Opener

Welcome to 2018 Seattle Sounders fans.

The home opener is finally here and we can wipe that nasty MLS-cup defeat from our brainpans. I am excited to whup expansion side LAFC in front of 50,000 screaming Rave Green faithful, if only because Seattle invented successful expansion (seewhatididthere?).

Yes. I still take massive pride in Seattle’s incredibly successful jump to MLS back in 2009. All that talk last year about Atlanta lapping Seattle as MLS’s darling debutante made me gag. We not only started hot, we kept blazing. To wit: Seattle has never missed the playoffs, has made the Conference Finals 4 of the last 6 years, and advanced to back-to-back MLS Cup appearances with one title (not mention all the US Open Cups and the Supporters’’ Shield).

Anyone who dares consider Chicago’s successful launch way back in baggy-jersey-skanky-mullet MLS 1.0, or the all-sizzle-no-steak Atlanta launch from last year knows nothing. Today’s matchup pits the best expansion team in MLS history against the latest.

So there is a wee bit of juice to today’s game. Chivas 2.0 (they’re even coached by Bob Bradley!) can pull a Loons and wallow in ineptitude for a while. Hey LA, come at the king, best not miss.

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Meanwhile at Starfire: The 2018 Sounders are on a mission. They’ve already kicked of the CONCACAF Champion’s League by advancing past El Salvadorian side Santa Tecla and face Mexican giant CD Guadalajara (aka Chivas) Wednesday. Seattle punched their ticket to this continental party by winning MLS Cup way back in 2016. These chances, to compete against the very best in our region, don’t come around too often.

Despite the pomp and circumstance, today’s domestic league home opener is a distraction. We just played a rougher than expected series with Tecla. We walloped them Thursday night, but all the congestion, long travel and the loss of Jordan Morris are devastating to the early goings in MLS.

Look how Toronto fared against Columbus yesterday. They too had to squeeze their MLS opener in between CCL fixtures, and they were embarrassed. TFC, allegedly with the best depth in the league, had less travel (Colorado), an easier opponent (again, Colorado) and still flopped in their MLS opener due to fatigue. Seattle hopes for a better result today, without compromising their chances Wednesday.

A very, very beatable Chivas team is coming to Sodo Wednesday night. Yes, they are one of our region’s unquestioned Super Clubs. Yes, Chivas have quality and pedigree and salary. But, they are mired in the LIGA MX cellar right now, and just fought for a home draw yesterday against archrival Club America. Chivas can’t take any league games for granted, and could very well send a b-side to Seattle.

BOLD PREDICTION: I want to beat Chivas on Wednesday way more than I care about LAFC today. For the optics and the ceremony, I hope the Sounders get a W to kick off their MLS campaign. But today’s game is not as clutch as Wednesday’s. And I think Schmetzer knows it. Seattle 1-1.

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