"Yes, It's Frustrating When You Don't Score."

By SoundersNerd September 19, 2009

Photos by Jack Hunter



After dominating the first half, we continue the pillage the second until every fan has bitten every nail down to the wick. We out hustle and out play Chivas. The Goats are constantly back peddling, defending attack after attack. We do everything we're supposed to do except one key, important item: Score. We have 12 shots to their four. And nine in the second half, six of them on goal.  Not one goes in.

One man keeps us from totally humiliating Chivas, and that man is keeper Zach Thornton (henchforth known as "Thwarten.")

It's generally not a good sign when you depend on your keeper to save the game, as it means the rest of the team is faulting. But Zach dives, bounces, jumps and generally stops everything rocketing into his box.  At 6'3 and 230lb, he's as close to a brick wall as they get in soccer.

A couple times, he preforms a dizzying diving save, jumping up, diving again, to stop a point-blank-rebound-shot combo. It's similar to what Marines do to initiate new recruits in bootcamp, a la Full Metal Jacket.


In the end, Zach Thwarten kept the game tied. The Sounders did everything they were supposed to do except score, which they haven't done since July 11th.  (And don't get another chance until October 24th.) We were the team that beat DC twice in DC, tied Houston in Houston, beat Galaxy in LA.  We were deserving Open Cup Champions. We were playoff ready. But we didn't score.

From there we trudge off to the  press conference:

The  first question to Sigi is if the game was Sounders vs Chivas, or Sounders v Thornton. He replies that it was the type of game where you get one, you get three, but we never got one.

He questioned some of the calls, referring to some "soft PKs" issued by MLS referees recently. "I question Zakuani's offsides, I question the penalty on Evans [when Evans was knocked down in the box with no call.] You guys have a different vantage point, but I'd have to see the replay on that."  Adding, "I'm not the one to say that Montero was pulled down [by Trujillo], but was just a foul [instead of a yellow and/or PK].

"We pushed forward.  I thought we were close, but you know what they say, close only counts with horseshoes and hand grenades."

The second question is about creating chances, not scoring, and frustration.  "Yes, it's frustrating when you don't score, but what are you going to do, stop making chances?"


He rambles on, saying from his point of view, sometimes passes are just off a tad. "If they only passed to the other foot, we'd be on." And energy vs. precision?  "Maybe there's cellophane around the goals, that's why they don't go in."

The next question is about about choice of players. (Before he came in, the press corps chatted, one reporter saying to another:  "I bet your first question is going to be, 'why was Jaqua on the bench?'")

I wanted to interject my opinion, but I keep shut.
The question doesn't name names, just a vague: "What's your choice of players?"  Sigi says: "It's not much different than when we played the Open Cup.  I think we're 15, 16 deep.  Vagenas [poor guy, his name is almost worse than mine] is organized, he's the type of player who makes the player next to him better." He adds that he didn't think Jaqua had a great game last time he started. Told ya so.

Someone notes that in the beginning we were better at home than away, now it's switched.  Sigi hypthesizes, "When we play teams here, they bunker down. Maybe players are pumped up playing here in front of large crowds."

The last question is about points:  "We're going to get points on the road.  We don't want our last game to be a must win game."

I want to ask about Freddie Ljungberg—lightly joke that he almost forgot not to get a card in the first half (sticking around the ref to argue a call, causing the entire stadium to sigh deeply).  Luckily, there's a nod to the PR guy and he calls the meeting adjourned.

We file into the locker room.  There are less butts this time.  I sense, but don't confirm, that the team is issued cheap black suits to wear on game day.  The pack of reporters muddles for a bit, looking for someone to pounce on.  Finally Ljungberg hobbles in, his knee wrapped with cellophane.

"We had three, four clear chances, but their goalie made some amazing saves." His eyes light up.  He has very high cheekbones, and very light blue eyes.  Periwinkle, in fact.  "In a normal game, three, four is too many chances. Hats off to the keep," he repeats, three or times.  I don't think he knows his name.

Zakuani played well, but ultimately didn't capitalize.


To be crowned "Player of the Match," you need to either score, assist repeatedly. Nope. None of that.

Player of the Match was Chivas' "Keep,"  Zach Thornton.

Filed under
Show Comments