Sounders Wrap Up

By LaRoche November 16, 2009

It's been a week since the Sounders' first season came dripping to a halt with an 0-1 loss to Houston.  (It was a shitty game on both sides by all accounts.  The loss?  Easy: The pitch-raged patches of grass filled in with sand, just fine for college and high school throwball, but horrible for soccer. It's an embarrassment that professionals play on fields like that, almost as embarrassing as playoff games that fetch a mere 7,000 attendees (New England) or even 11,000 (Real Salt Lake).  But I digress...)

My great season-end conclusion:  We not only have a great team, but the Sounders have begun to finally bring the World's Game to America. Greg Nickels probably didn't have this in mind when he wanted to transform Seattle into a "world class city," but the Sounders have all the makings to be the Manchester of MLS.  The Bayern Munich of America.  The AC Milan of the USA.

Yup, you heard me. The Sounders have become the flagship of the MLS.

Now, all we have to do is win more trophies.

The Sounders can start that with a few minor adjustments.

1) Get another scorer!  Together Fredy Montero and Nate Jaqua netted 21 of the team's 38 goals; no one else had more than four, and there was that bazillion-week scoreless home game stretch.  Let's not repeat that again, ok guys?

2) Be a little more consistent. Brad Evans had a phenomenal game against Dallas, too bad he was absent for the rest of the season.  Both Jaqua and Montero wrestled with presence, taking several weeks off respectively.  Ljungberg let his emotions get the best of him too often.

3) Don't let the home crowd rally the opponents more than you.  During that scoreless stretch, weaker teams were pumped by the ever growing crowds, leaving Qwest with draws and wins.  Maybe they were psyched as professional soccer players to finally play in front of respectable crowds, but it's embarrassing to the say the least.  The crowd is there to intimidate them, not you.  Work on that, will you?

The MLS needs to make some changes as well.  They'll be meeting in the following weeks to discuss some improvements.  They could start with better refs.  (I hate complaining about the officiating), but leg one of Sounders-Houston was attrocious. Maybe it will cause a shake-up.

Other items deserving scrutiny are the team roster limit (currently at 24 players), the pay scale, and the Designated Player rule, and most importantly, is the busy summer schedule.  The Sounders will be playing in the CONCACAF Champions League, which leads to a massively packed schedule.  The MLS needs to loosen up the summer schedule in regards of CL, Open Cup, and international exhibition games.

And that's not all folks!

It's going to be a busy finale. There's the Goal fo the Year and Saves of the Year —both featuring Sounders (Montero and Ianni in the former; Marshall in the later) which fans can vote on until Nov 17th!

The MLS Supporters Summit convenes the 20-22nd; Prost Amerika is hosting a pre-MLS final at the Baltic Room on the 21st; the expansion draft comes right after the final;  the new kids in Philly get to pick 10 players from current teams (limit one per team, with each team getting to shield 11 players—plus the Designated Player is excluded from the draft.  It's a safe bet that one will be nabbed from Seattle.

Then it's Thanksgiving, and then the holidays and New Years and BAM!  Before you know it, we start all over again March 24th.

And when it does all start again, let's hope the local sports writers who don't get soccer, don't write about soccer.

Three cheers to Seattle Weekly (!!!) for divinely slicing up the's  Jim Moore.  Art Thiel, who can't seem to write about the Sounders without passive, back-handed slams, should have gotten the same treatment.  Moore, Thiel, et al: If you don't "understand" a game, don't write about it.

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