It was an run like that which we haven’t seen since the US Open Cup against Sporting. Moments of hope and time after time of impending doom. The feeling of having your heart in your stomach and consistently being ready to cry or throw up. I think it’s pretty safe to say that the majority of supporters and fans alike just felt simply emotionally drained after the match.
Personally, I went straight to bed. I couldn’t think about LA (I still can’t) I just wanted to appreciate the fact that the Sounders were headed to the Western Conference Finals for the first time in club history. After all the energy that I personally exuded I was just glad the game didn’t go into extra time.
That being said a lot of the story written is going to either recount the game or even the amazing drive that lead to Mario Martinez’s goal. There is really a lot to talk about in general. What I want to really to spent this time doing is talking about the final 10 minutes of the match.
I honestly don’t remember that much of it. I think mostly I was just praying and spent it peering out between my eyes like the 9-year old incarnation of myself watching Jaws for the very first time. We all simultaneously held our breath for 15 minutes and watched wave after wave of Real Salt Lake attack against the gates of Gspurning.
Like watching an epic Tom Hanks battle scene or Mel Gibson fight for Scotland freedom. We knew that we had the advantage but we expected an unfortunate turn of events, or at least I did, and yet after many possible and very pleasurable attempts there was nothing.
Strikers Alvaro Saborio and Fabian Espindola both had solid chances to make things as did Nat Borchers. It’s not so much the chances that were created time and time again. But the complete disregard that was made. The subsitutions of Zach Scott for Mario Martinez, David Estrada for Fredy Montero. They aren’t head scratcher. They were rather obvious except that it seemed rather overly dangerous.
The question I had at the time was what happens if they did score a goal. You were betting that in the final 15 minutes, regardless of the fact that you were giving 90% of the possession, that the opposing team wasn’t going to score. A gamble for certain that ended up to the Sounders advantage.
What made things worse is that it seemed that all the Sounders could do to counter act the problems they faced in those closing minutes was to time waste. It felt cheap. I get that this is how games are closed out in soccer and it was a serious knock on several MLS teams when it comes to Champions League play but maybe I want to have my cake and eat it too. Have the Sounders win and do so looking good.
The Sounders won which is huge and amazing. Now they head into a battle with another long standing rival that has given them issues in the past but matches up rather well in this scenario. There is a lot to think about tomorrow the day before. But today we still look at what they’ve accomplished against RSL.
It was a tough game and the fact that they were able to continue to finally break through against Nick Rimando was huge. But not only that they were able to give the ball back to RSL and told them to give it their best shot for the final 15 minutes of the game. It was an impressive win on multiple fronts but those closing seconds really is what I’ll remember.