Seattle, WA – Seconds remained in the opening match of 2014, and many fans had their post game explanations ready. “Clint Dempsey only played 30 minutes.” “This team hasn’t had a chance to gel yet.” “The turf made them loose.” ” It was that replacement ref’s fault.” It’s OK. We were all thinking it. In steps Chad Barrett and the “white guy’s bicycle kick”.
After a dramatic, heart pumping ending , those thoughts fans had prepared get thrown right out the window, and we end up on the other side of the spectrum. Among the overreaction seen and heard after the game on Saturday, a few of my favorites and on a scale of 1-10 I am ranking them on the way out there is crazy dream town.
“Seattle is going to go undefeated through the season.”
Way out there scale : 10
As much as all of us in Sounders dream land would like this, first its unrealistic. Way out there in dream land. There are writers and statisticians much smarter than myself who might be able to give you the statistical improbability of this happening and having better luck getting struck by a meteor….twice. So we will just leave this one alone.
“Kenny Cooper is going have 25 goals this year baby!”
Way out there scale:7.5
After the game on Saturday there was quite a bit of chatter about how good Kenny Cooper looked, and how he might lead the team in goals and chase Chris Wondowloski’s record from a few years back. Hell, why not just go with it. He has had two seasons with career highs of 18 goals, 2011 and 2013 with two separate teams, the New York Red Bulls and FC Dallas. Coincidentally in both of those seasons he averaged 101.5 shot attempts and he is currently on pace to take 134 shots through 2014 (wink, wink, nudge nudge). If Cooper ended the season with 18 goals, a couple of scenarios could have played out, but lets face it the team was unable to find a replacement for Fredy Montero from 2012. Eddie Johnson was supposed to be that answer in 2013 but was unable to get anything going due to injuries, call ups to the national team, and rumored inter-squad/organization issues.
Cooper also offers a blue-collar mentality to his game, and the small differences it made in the game against Sporting KC were noticeable. There were no hands thrown into the air because he did not get the ball (Eddie Johnson) and he was following through on 50/50 balls, one of those he slotted to Clint Dempsey in the second half, albeit slightly to far, which Dempsey was able to put across the face of the net. Those slight nuances, that extra bit of push, and hard work, pays big dividends in a season long en devour. Cooper is my dark horse player of the year to watch. If he has a good year, so will the Sounders.
The start of the season is the best time of year, its like being a teenager again with your life still yet to be lived. Well maybe not like a teenager but you get my point.
Seattle may not go out there and go undefeated, but one thing we learned about the 2014 team which differs from their predecessors, teamwork. We got a little glimpse into some possible combinations between Obafemi Martins and Cooper and from Martins, Cooper and Dempsey. That trio has the potential to do some pretty exciting things, and I for one am all for overreacting in a positive way to the first game of the season.