I missed documenting the Sounder’s first game back from international break. Sue me. All you need to know is that combining our B-squad and parts of our A-squad doesn’t really work. It’s something I’ve been harping on about on Twitter for the past couple of years. This inability to plug and play teammates is incredibly frustrating but as one Aaron Campeau pointed out to me during the World Cup, there are my expectations and then there is reality. Trust me, I am trying to accept the reality. My doctor tells me my blood pressure is finally down after the last four year. Yes, this accepting realistic expectations is a good thing.
What is a better thing was that USOC game versus the Timbers. Oh my Lord! This game proved that the USOC passion is still alive and well in the Sounders. The first half was battle of the midfields with a few run-and-gun moments that never finished for either side. It’s well-documented Sigi and Co have been putting Ozzie through a three-week marathon of Naruto animes. It seems to have paid off because his goal off of a Neagle cross was absolutely dark art bushido. You could almost hear him call out the name of the move: “Stinging Badger Shuriken!”
It came down to seconds at the end when the Timbers equalized in the 93 minute. All that relentless pressure was too much for the Sounders defense. Frei was playing on point up until the goal. I’d even say that the Timbers played a little Chaos and Confusion in the 18 to cause that goal. Much respect to Fernandez for the follow-up that caused most of Washington to go into cardiac arrest. The game was evenly matched and with Zakuani on for the Timbers (yes, that is a thing I have to consciously think about) and Yedlin off, the tipping point was Chara. Chara though, came up to play the villain. Studs up and scissorkicking like M.Bison, Chara straight dirty tackled Marco Pappa and pulled a red card for his lack of judgement. From this game-changer, Kenny Cooper’s head and Marco Pappa’s tigershot (My pet name for his famous longshots) gave the Sounders two more goals to end the hot and muggy game 3-1.
It’s been said on the other side of the Pacific Northwest that this game was unfair for two reasons: It was played at the subpar venue that is Starfire and that the call on Chara was unfair. To the first point, Starfire has character and personality which is more than what I can say about a lot of other venues in the MLS. It should actually appeal to the Portland mentality of being quirky and out of the ordinary kind of like Providence Park. Those qualities are the only reason I like Providence. Starfire brings teams and supporters a little reminder of where we all came from when we were eight years old. It’s a break from the World Cup, from stadium play, from huge crowds chanting. I am sorry if you don’t like it but it’s not about how many people we can stuff in a stadium for USOC; it’s the brotherhood and tight knit community that soccer brings. That’s why I like playing the USOC at Starfire.
As for the second point, it is an incredibly simple philosophy. Soccer is like life. It’s unfair. Deal with it and move on. With that out of the way, Chara should know better. The problem is that he doesn’t. That thick-headed move was being rushed out several times throughout the game and it was only a matter of time before consequences were doled out. Either Chara needs to learn (doubtful) or Porter needs to learn how to coach that kind of player (again, doubtful).
On Sunday, the official Cascadia Cup scrum between the these two teams takes off. With a morning of World Cup Finals between Germany and Argentina (Go Germany!) and a healthy coat of 90+ degree weather rolling through the Emerald City, soccer lovers will be going into one of the hypest games in the league. Nay! The world. So come out and help us celebrate the birthday of our very own Jacob Cristobal, the man who keeps the machine running and my words fresh here at Cheeky Backheel. Will we see our two World Cup stars duke it out in Centurylink? What tactics will Porter bring to the table? Will the heat die down in the evening to allow for a whole 90 minutes of running and dominating? The most vital question though: What will the tifos be like???
All these questions will be answered on Sunday!
ON YOU SOUNDERS!!!!!
Prediction: Sounders 3-Portland 1 (run it back, boys. Let’s give them nightmares).