by Charles Therrell (DISK DOKTOR), Oakland, CA
Greetings to my brothers and sisters in Green. The great American playwright David Mamet once said that “Old age and treachery will always beat youth and exuberance.” Let all of us in Green bloody well hope that that quote turns out not to be prophetic. For this Saturday, New York City FC make the cross-continental trip from their stomping grounds in The Bronx all the way to evergreen Seattle and Royal Brougham Park. Now back to Mamet. You see, the bulk of the NYCFC team are between the ages of 34 and 38. They have names like David Villa, Andrea Pirlo, Andoni Iraola, and Frank Lampard. Their resumés are long and decorated with a barrel full of titles, and the bulk of that group have played better than 500 career professional matches. Perhaps respect for these elder statesmen of football is in order as NYCFC are nearly halfway through the MLS schedule and sit tenth in the table, seven positions over our beloved Sounders. We got scuffed up a bit last week in Harrison, by the defending league champions. The Sounders must show resolve, and with a nearly full compliment of players available for selection, perhaps the time is now to reassert ourselves on the rest of the league. If you’re fortunate enough to be in Seattle today, get ye to the match or a local ECS viewing party post-haste. For the rest of our supporter groups, find a viewing party, and help will our lads on to victory. We’ll join each other in the auld toast: TO THE SEATTLE SOUNDERS FOOTBALL CLUB…AND VICTORY.
The Good News
The only players unavailable for selection in the Sounders team are Roman Torres, who is still rehabbing his ACL tear, and Clint Dempsey who will face off with the Yanks against Colombia in the Copa America Centenario match for 3rd place. Many of our players are young and spry, unlike half the NYCFC side who are clearly refugees from the UEFA Old Footballers home. NYCFC have not won on the road yet this season (0-4-4). Oddly NYCFC’s 3 players that are on injury list are in their early twenties. Sounders FC defeated NYCFC last season in their only ever meeting 1:3 in The Bronx. The Sounders should be fired up to win, following their disappointing result last weekend in New Jersey. It’s quite possible that half the NYCFC side would have no chance of catching our most pacy players at a dead run. NYCFC’s current form is little better than ours as they have only one win out of the last five matches.
The Bad News
This is a bad match to be missing a player of Dempsey’s experience and technical ability. The NYCFC side are old, but somehow find themselves mid-table on 16 matches. Given the experience in the NYCFC side, it would be a very bad day for rookie mistakes. As Saturday’s match is only the second meeting ever in the league for NYCFC and the Sounders, the sample size for statistical purposes is completely useless, not to mention that the Sounders FC that faced them for the first time last season were a completely different team. Thus the outcome of this match will be very difficult to predict. If things turn pear-shaped for the Sounders, this NYCFC side have the potential to run up the score in a very ugly fashion. Seattle’s form is crap just now, having dropped four of the last five matches. David Villa has scored 11 goals for NYCFC this season. The entire Sounders FC side have only scored 13.
Not only do NYCFC boast auld skool European football firepower. They also have former Arsenal and France great Patrick Viera as their manager. It’s a clash of the titans on Saturday afternoon. A European who’s who of football from the last decade, against our young stalwart hopefuls and journeyman veterans. A classic matchup, not to be missed.
Goalkeeper, Josh Saunders played at Cal. Goalkeeper Rawls played at St. Mary’s. Mehdi Ballouchy played for Santa Clara Broncos.
Selections for Last Match
Sounders FC: Frei, Mears, Evans, Marshall, Remick, Alonso, Friberg, Ivanschitz, Kovar, Morris, Joevin Jones.
Bench: Miller (gk), Scott, Fisher, Roldan, Valdez, Gómez, Anderson.
New York City FC: Saunders, Allen, Brilliant, Hernandez, Matarrita, Lampard, Iraola, Pirlo, Harrison, Villa, McNamara.
Bench: Johansen (gk), Mena, Lopez, Poku, Taylor, White, Mendoza.
OUT: Torres (ACL).
New York City FC –
OUT: Brandt (hip surgery), Bravo (quad strain), Mendoza (core injury).
Seattle: None. (Alonso on Accumulation Warnings list with 4 bookings)
New York City: Hernandez (Sent Off).
Half of last week’s starting eleven for NYCFC were between the ages of 34 and 38 years old. That’s like 85 in football years.