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Three Soccer Ghosts visit Sounders FC…

December 12th, 2014 · No Comments

Must be getting that time of year, right? As I just can’t stop myself from various renditions of Messer Dickens timeless tail…

As the Seattle Sounders FC were visited by more than those three Ghoulish Chaps from Yesteryear, with their ravenous “Rave Green” Diehard supporters setting the bar a notch higher by leading the MLS in attendance once again, for six years in-a-row with some 42,863+ filing thru the turnstiles; Err being “wanded” by security at Century Link Field.

Ghost of Soccer Past
Funny how it seems like forever ago when I was attending my lone “Rave Green” match of the regular season two months ago, when Seattle lost One-Nil (1-0) which I scribbled ’bout laboriously in;

Seattle’s Affinity for The Other Football leaves a Fan Futilely Searching for Regular Season’s final Matches…

Not to mention my travails ‘O trying to follow along the season’s mock two-legged Face-off for the Supporters shield vs. arch nemesis Los Angeles Galaxy; having tuned out after Seattle fell behind Two-Nil (2-0) in Leg-1 before totally screwing up upon my local TV time & station for their victorious Leg-2 win!

Next listening to the Sounders FC in the MLS Playoffs, for which the relatively new Major League Soccer Franchise has participated in all six years of its existence. As it was the second game vs. FC Dallas, where Seattle’s very own Mike McCready of Pearl Jam fame played a rocking rendition of thy Star spangled banner upon his Fender Stratocaster to 38,000-plus (A = 38,912) adoring, delirious Rave Green fans!

Sounders have advanced to the Conference Finals twice, with their nemesis being those dreaded LA Galaxy, who bounced Seattle from advancing two years ago in 2012 en route to Los Angeles’s fourth MLS Cup, when some chap named David Beckham was on his retirement “World Tour.”

Fast forward to this season, as the Galaxy were flexing their collective muscles again, with the retiring Landon Donovan scoring a Hat-trick vs. Real Salt Lake (RSL) in a crushing Five-Nil (5-0) defeat.

But back to our Sounders FC game, where the score was knotted Nil-Nil (0-0) at halftime, even though Clint Dempsey had taken a point blank shot from 12-yards out straight at Dallas’s keeper to NO avail! As the game ended tied at Nil-Nil with Seattle advancing on the strength of Major League Soccer’s dubious “Away Goals” rule, for which I felt somewhat disappointed, as hey, Yuhs always want your home team to win via scoring goals instead!

Ghost of Soccer Present
Listened to a somewhat tinny Ross Fletcher, the voice of the Sounders FC, with “Pro-LA” colour commentator Kasey Keller alongside on a new AM radio channel, 770AM Me thinks? As it was agonizing to hear Seattle lose One-Nil, (1-0) yet realize we’d been down this road before, and alas, it was only one goal this time instead of the typical three…

Then upon being bedside with my departing ‘Awntie Harriet over Thanksgiving weekend, in what I dubbed a “100% SportsFreeZone!” I missed out upon the all important second leg finale.

Also missed any transmission of the Seahawks v 49ers “Turkey-Lurkey” dessert, as we’d chose to watch Shirley Temple’s Bright Eyes instead, followed up with ‘lil Ronnie Howard on the Telescreen afterwards, I had ZERO inkling of the second leg’s outcome until late Monday evening, followed-up by Randal informing me that Seattle had won the game but those dastardly Galaxy had won the war on aggregate plus the BLEEPIN’ Away Goals tiebreaker.

And apparently the lure ‘O Landon Donovan’s “final-final” match was too much to resist, with a reported figure of some 1.9-million viewers tuning in, including Senior Sportyblog Scribe Touchdown Tommy, who was watching his first ever MLS Cup in spite of those bone crushing Seahawks being on thy ‘Telie in nearly the same time-slot; Aye Karumba!

And although I totally got Alexi Lalas’s point in the Pre-game’s opening monologue, and agree with it, nonetheless, I got overly peeved by his continuous “Shots” at the Sounders by saying NOBODY cares who won the US Open Cup and Supporters Shield, they only remember who won the MLS Cup! As I kept waiting for his opposite studio Sidekick ex-Sounders FC Captain and Goalkeeper Kasey Keller to say something, but Kasey wouldn’t bite; Bah Humbug!

As I’m certain my neighbor above wondered what I was YOO-HOOING ’bout pre-Seahawks game, as I let out a vociferous roar in the games 79th minute when New England shockingly tied the game One-One, as I seriously wanted the Revolution to end their MLS Cup losing streak but alas, as we all know, reigning MLS MVP Robby Keene scored the deciding goal in the 111th minute of play, clinching LA’s record fifth MLS Cup victory 2-1 with the Revolution unceremoniously making history by now having lost five championship game matches; YOUCH!

Ghost of Soccer Future
For now, as hopefully both sides will work out the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, (CBA) which expires on Dec 31, 2014, the future of MLS looks pretty bright! With eight franchises having averaged over 20,000 attendees and the league averaging just a schosh over 19,000 for the first time ever, (19,045 Avg) and two new teams entering play in 2015, i.e.; Orlando City Soccer Club and New York City FC, as the latter state now hosts three professional teams: NY Red Bulls, NYC FC and the NASL’s New York Cosmos,.

And expansion fever hasn’t subsided yet, with two more franchises on the horizon set to play in 2017, when the re-tooled second LA franchise being born out of the ashes of Chivas USA, along with the new Atlanta squad take to the pitch, with MLS Commissioner Don Garber saying he hopes to be to 24-teams by the time he steps down in 2020…

2014 MLS Expansion Draft Picks revealed

Also MLS is currently waiting patiently for the resolvement of the never ending David Beckham Miami Franchise experiment, for which his first two stadium site choices have been shot down. As I still don’t see why Lord Beckham doesn’t take over the new LA franchise instead? Although suppose he doesn’t want to go head-to-head with his former employer…

Thus, all that remains for Seattle’s box ticking is to finally make its debutant MLS Cup appearance, having now won four US Open Cups along with the 2014 MLS Supporters Shield.

As my good friend Randal, “Thy Moniker King” (primarily of No Fenders fame) gave me quite the start recently when mentioning that perhaps my favourite Sounders FC player #12, Left Back Leo Gonzalez might be gone after the forthcoming Major League Soccer expansion draft; YIKES!

Yet whew, fortunately for Mwah, Leo and more importantly the Sounders, along with Ziggy, (Schmid) Leo was spared and the 34yr old Costa Rican should be once again on the pitch for opening day next March, where the Sounders will feature a somewhat revamped starting line-up.

And it’s important to note that the New England Revolution didn’t play in their first MLS cup until year seven of its existence, which I only learned from watching this year’s championship, for which I so desperately wanted New England to send “LD10″ (Donovan) packing dejectedly!

As Randal notes, with my Boy Leonardo being 34 ‘N change, the young lions will be nipping at his heels, whilst have NO idea who’ll fill departed home grown Right Back talent DeAndre Yedlin who’s transferred to the world’s premiere stage by joining Tottenham Hot Spurs.

Thus, with Landon’s departure, can the Galaxy regroup for another title run? While the Sounders “core players” remain intact; Hmm? Sounds familiar, like I dunno, perhaps the Seattle Seahawks, eh?

Thus, can the Rave Green finally break thru to the championship finals and even better yet, be victorious! And just how many original Sounders will remain upon that most glorious day?

As there’s currently just four players remaining upon Seattle’s roster who made their maiden cap ‘Wayback on March 19, 2009, albeit one could be done? (As thought I heard Zach Scott’s name being mentioned as possibly retiring? Pre expansion draft…)

This quartet is led by elder Defenders Gonzalez (34) and Zach Scott, (34) with midfielder team captain Brad Evans (29) and midfielder ‘Ozzie, aka Osvaldo Alonso (29) all somewhat hearing the nagging sounds of Father Time calling them.

Yet on the positive side of the ledger, sounders brass just recently gave Head Coach Sigi Schmid a contract extension for Christmas, so the Sounders FC should have NO excuses for coaching lapses into the foreseeable future, with the pressure now being squarely on Schmid, age 61 to claim his third career MLS cup…

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