Friday, October 30, 2009

See? Draws can be fun.

Major League Soccer playoffs. Really this is the first time I have even been interested in them. Why? Because this is the first time I have a team that I’ve cared about in them. Tonight the playoffs opened up with a bang. If one were to pick up the paper and see the scoreline, which happened to be a 0-0 draw, one would not grasp the implications of how important and dramatic this game was in actuality.

For starters, it was the Sounders first MLS playoff game and it was played in front of 35,000 fans. Fans that booed, cheered and displayed their support by bearing flags and colors and scarves. In short, ravenous fanatics. I believe in literary terms they would call the drenched in green Qwest field: The setting. And it was marvelous.

The Uniforms: Bright Green(Seattle Sounders) and Bright Orange (Houston Dynamo)

The Brawl: About midway through the first half, things were looking pretty on par for what you’d expect of a playoff game. Both teams were creating chances. Both teams were playing with pace. And both teams were playing pretty rough. Until Seattle got a corner kick in which Houston’s Keeper, Pat Onstad, bumped into Seattle’s Fredy Montero. Fredy, as he is known to do, took the opportunity to try to draw a foul. Pandemonium ensued. Which is to say that for the next 2 or 3 minutes there was a dog pile of bodies on the soccer pitch getting things sorted out; school yard style. Indeed, the teams were getting to know each other.

The blood: Also in the first half, not long after the melee, Seattle’s Nate Jaqua went for a header and instead found a boot. A small gash was opened up on his forehead slightly above his eye. Eventually he had to change out his jersey and have a bandage around his head. He looked like a war veteran you might see in a civil war movie. Except he was wearing bright green and trying to score goals. Coincidentally, Jaqua had the same thing happen to him in Seattle’s Open Cup semi-final against, you guessed it! The Houston Dynamo. I will now refer to Jaqua as the Dynamo Soldier. (Because of his bandage and because his previous team also happens to have been Houston).

The disappointment: The game ended in a draw. In all honesty, this is probably the most accurate result as both teams had plenty of chances but could not finish. There was more than one time where I leapt up on my feet only to be disappointed by a ball cleared off the line or bouncing off the goalposts. Although I was sitting at home, I jeered the referee when he did not make a call in favor of my beloved Sounders. In other words, the cats are still hiding from me because that’s the same voice I use when they get into something they aren’t supposed, only I was shouting for about 90 minutes instead of 1 or 2.

The good news: It’s a 2 leg playoff and there will be a winner. The Dynamo Soldier’s eyebrow will be avenged! The second part is in Houston and will not be as kind to the Sounders in terms of fan support. The 0-0 draw means that 1 goal can advance the sounders to the next round, or send them packing their bags back home to plan for next season. Though the drama was high tonight, it will most certainly be much higher for the next game. Welcome to Major League Soccer Seattle.

Take ‘em all!