The Seattle Sounders host the Houston Dynamo Thursday for a shot to #DefendOurCup at MLS Cup 2017. Frankly, it is more than a shot. The Sounders lead the series 2-nil, with two precious away goals. This is our series to win.
Thankfully the Sounders’ winning has been a lot more consistent than my blogging. Babies, yo. It baffles me that my last ten posts date all the way back to December 10th, 2016 and my Bold Prediction for the 2016 MLS Cup. In those ten posts in almost a year, only two were long-ish form. My commitment to excellence (blog-cellence?) has wavered, but the Sounders’ hasn’t.
The 2017 season, though somewhat underwhelming for the duration, can already be considered one of Seattle’s best seasons in MLS history.
In 2017, Seattle:
- Earned 53 points, their fourth-highest total ever
- Finished 2nd place in the West, their third-best conference finish
- Clinched only their 4th berth in the Western Conference Championship
- Nearly Booked (don’t jinx it!!) their second trip to MLS Cup
Last year: the drama surrounding the #Sigiout decision, the insane collapse mid-summer, the Nico signing, Clint’s health scare, the raucous and boisterous push to make the playoffs, then the Cup Final. 2016 was a wild, wild ride.
This year: the Sounders were tediously excellent. Sure, they earned all those points and results, but they never felt like a great team, a championship-caliber team. Seattle signed solid players (Svensson, Leerdam, Rodriguez) but whiffed on making a splash with Derlis Gonzalez. Much like their unheralded, lunchpail-type coach, Brian Schmetzer, Seattle just quietly plugged away at the yeoman’s work of being a winning soccer team.
2017 wasn’t precocious 2011, beautiful 2014, or gritty 2016; it was just winning soccer. In the 18 games since Jun 21st, the Sounders only dropped 18 points for a record of 9-2-7 and a whopping 1.88 points-per-game. The Sounders enjoyed four solid months of sustained excellence, but frankly, underwhelmed.
Buuuut these last two games… Vancouver leg 2 and Houston leg 1, saw the all-caps SOUNDERS back in action. Even with injuries and constant lineup shuffling, Schmetzer had the boys singing with 4 goals scored, 0 conceded, and a joyous, jogo-bonito flair.
I’m getting excited again. The boys are rounding into form, getting healthier right in time to knock on the doors of history. Seriously, even without J-Mo and Ozzie we can punch our ticket to Toronto MLS Cup, again, where we have a real chance at repeating. This has only happened four times in MLS history. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
There is still game to be won Thursday night, and Mrs. Raving Green and I will be singing and supporting in Sodo. We didn’t attend a single playoff game last year (see: baby, new), breaking our streak since 2010, and it suuucked. It was especially bittersweet because I had my heart broke in person in the rain in 2012 and 2014. Like Dempsey, I want to be a part of a championship. Good thing I can trust Schmetzer and these Sounders to show up and do the work. Make it so, boys.