MLS CUP Semi-Final 1st Leg – Royal Brougham Park, Seattle, WA. SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC v. COLORADO RAPIDS

by Charles Therrell (DISK DOKTOR)

Greetings to my brothers and sisters in Green. The long march has brought us nigh. The MLS Cup semi-finals. We’ve been here twice before, and crashed out. But this team has a new resilience, and resolve. Lodeiro now presides over an offense that cannot be predicted easily. What will become of us…who can say? But in the spirit fitting our supporters, we shouldn’t be weighed down by the enormity of a semi-finals appearance. We should consider it our rightful place in the pantheon of MLS clubs, and back our Sounders to victory. I write a lot about us finding each other, whether it be at the park or in a local pub that supports the Green Family. I write these things because one voice alone is lost in the din of everything else. Two voices are doubly strong. The more voices you stack on the energy created grows exponentially. I believe words said and songs sung on behalf of our boys in Green have a universal impact, making a real difference in the quality of play for our lads. My lot in FCF and our friends at ECS and all of its sub-groups know what I mean when I say this. Our words, chants, and yelling matter. It matters wholesale and makes us better for being part of something larger than ourselves. We are joyful, and we shall make a joyful noise. A massive noise that will deafen our opponents. We will brightly go forth and be counted. Eyes bright, voices heard. There is something about this place, the Pacific Northwest. It fortifies us, makes us feel solid and real. Our boys in Green represent all that we are, and where we are from. We are behind our Sounders, and they are behind us, without fail. As certain as the gentle waves lapping on Alki Beach, we are all one. Green and Blue. Sound and sky. My energy will be knit with yours and that of you and your mates. We will generate a monolithic presence this night, and good things will come of it. When you get your cup of beer, think of all of your mates around you, all over the region and the country. Join us all in the auld toast: TO THE SEATTLE SOUNDERS FOOTBALL CLUB…AND VICTORY!!!

The Good News
We triumphed over the Dallas, the League and US Open Cup double winners. Based on this, all things are possible. Although the loss of Tim Howard to the Yanks and Colorado is terrible, the silver lining for the Sounders is that we don’t have to face that level of goalkeeping experience. We’ve only played against Colorado in one MLS Cup tie in history. In that match, held in Seattle, we won 2:0. So results good, sample size for data incredibly limited. We are finding ways to win despite having lost Dempsey, Ivanschitz, and Fernandez. Lodeiro is a godsend.

The Bad News
Colorado were the runners-up for the League title. They have a fair amount of quality and experience in their team. In a queer way, we are playing a mirror version of ourselves with four former players in the Colorado squad. Cup football can turn pear-shaped easily. In the Seattle rain, the unthinkable could become possible – for either side. This is the third time the Sounders have made it to the semi-finals. In our two previous appearances we were eliminated.

Know Thine Enemy
Goalkeeper: With Howard injured in Columbus, playing for the Yanks, MacMath becomes the starter for Colorado. He is experienced with over 100 professional appearances, but has no honours to show for it. His understudy is John Berner, a 25 year old with 47 pro appearances.

Defence: Eric Miller is a domestic product, solid if unspectacular. Sjöberg has less than 100 appearances, but has won honours at lower levels. Burch has over 200 pro appearances and has won two domestic titles.

Midfield: Watts has over 50 pro appearances and has spent time with USA U-17s. Cronin has the better part of 300 pro appearances, three North American titles, and two United States caps. Jermaine Jones is a steady member in the current Yanks midfield, and a veteran player of the German league. He has 67 United States caps with four goals.

Forward: Le Toux has the better part of 300 pro appearances with over 80 goals, beginning at Lorient in France with the rest of his career played in MLS. Doyle has the better part of 500 appearances as a pro. His exploits for his clubs as well as Eire are legendary. Gashi has over 200 pro appearances with over 80 goals. Gashi adds a list of honours from Swiss football and over 10 caps for Albania.  Badji has over 50 pro appearances.

Familiar Faces
Burch played 49 times for Sounders FC. Le Toux played 75 times for the two most recent iterations of the Sounders, scoring 25 goals. Marco Pappa played 55 times for the Sounders scoring nine goals, while playing 52 times for Guatemala. Michael Azira played 25 times for the Sounders first team.

Selections for Last Match
Sounders FC: Frei, Mears, Scott, Marshall, Joevin Jones, Alonso, Roldan, Lodeiro, Friberg, Morris, Valdez.

Bench: Miller (gk), Torres, Alfaro, Evans, Kovar, Fisher, Gómez.

Colorado: Howard, Eric Miller, Watts, Sjoberg, Burch, Cronin, Jermaine Jones, Le Toux, Doyle, Gashi, Badji.

Bench: MacMath (gk), Burling, Williams, Powers, Azira, Hairston, Pappa.

Injury List
Sounders FC –
OUT: Dempsey (irregular heartbeat).
MATCHDAY DECISION: Morris (hamstring), Ivanschitz (knee), Fernandez (hamstring), Torres (hamstring), Remick (concussion).

Colorado –
OUT: Serna (knee surgery), Howard (adductor).
MATCHDAY DECISION: Gashi (ankle).

Discipline
Sounders FC: Alonso, Roldan, and Frei are carrying bookings.
Colorado: Badji, Watts, Jermaine Jones, and Cronin are carrying bookings.

Fun Fact
The Rapids’ use of burgundy for their colours inspired Scottish band Little Eye (fronted by Rapids’ player, Jamie Smith’s brother), to write a song called “Burgundy Sky” which has become the club’s official anthem. It’s super catchy. Why don’t we have a rock n’ roll sibling in our side? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_5pcvVYnHpk after listening shower off with this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=363wCcJdSbA

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