Le Toux: The Sounders' Sub Pop!
In full disclosure: I'm totally superstitious. Mess with the football gods (already irate cause we call it "soccer") and they will return the act in kind ten-fold.
Thus my major outburst(s) last week with the Sounders/US Confederation Cup Final scheduling snafu. It would only bring about the worst, and in many ways it did: the US's phenomenal 2-0 half time over Brazil evaporated as soon as the big screens at Qwest went blank. Brazil's fury of three second-half unanswered goals occurred purely because the Sounders refused to delay kickoff.
Ok, that's a bit of a stretch, but seriously, it illustrates that MLS has a long ways to go in developing soccer culture.
One key reality they must acknowledge is the hierarchy of international football. Nothing trumps the National Team, especially playing in a Final. It's just one of those rules. Until MLS realizes this, stops scheduling games during international tournaments, and grows the balls to demand that other interested parties fall in line (yes, the networks, yes, the ad companies, yes the airlines and anyone else "depending" on a timely start to MLS games), it and the US soccer body it manifests will continue to be the laughing stock of the international football community. The Confederations Cup was just a warm up, will they get their act together for the World Cup?
As for the Sounders, the scheduling snafu played to their advantage. They started the game riding high on the euphoria the US lead instead of the deflation of Brazil's comeback.
Sunday was the win we always knew we could get, having worked out the defects to deliver the perfect game in the perfect stadium on the perfect day. Even greater was the expansion of our talent: Nyassi proved to be as formidable as Zakuani; and Wahl and Ianni inched closer towards calming our doubts of their defensive capabilities. Le Toux subs in—and a minute later has the second assist on our third goal. Jaqua continued to up his stock with two goals and an assist, challenging Kelley and the Freds for title of "most important player." We didn't even get any red cards
And we pulverized the Rapids 3-0—the same Rapids who were "hot on our heels"; the Rapids who previously last week demolished DC United 3-0. If we can do it to them, we can do it to anyone, "anyone" specifically being Houston Dynamo, Western Conferenceleaders and our next match-up on July 11th.