With the departure of both Fredy Montero and Eddie Johnson, two of the most prolific goal scorers in the Seattle vs. Portland rivalry, there is a missing void within this Seattle team which has an opportunity to be filled this weekend. While Montero took his “golden boot” skills to La Liga, Johnson still has yet to score a goal in 2014 in MLS.
Regardless of your feelings towards either of these former Sounders, their prowess for finding the back of the next in the biggest games is unmatched. Over the past two years 2012-2013 they have combined for 10 goals in rivalry games. In 2012 both Montero and Johnson had 4 goals in games against the Portland Timbers or Vancouver Whitecaps. in 2013 Johnson had two in those same games, with one of them coming on the biggest of stages. Clint Dempsey‘s first game in Seattle, in front of 66,000, and on national television. Rising to the occasion, reagardless of antics is something Fredy Montero and Eddie Johnson have done very well.
Seattle will need to find its new knight.
All teams need a face of a franchise, whether it is the Super Bowl Champion Seattle Seahawks and Russell Wilson or the Miami Heat and Lebron James. All great teams need that face, that superstar. While the Sounders are full of stars, they lack a Super Star, at least in the context of carrying a team on his shoulders and leading them through a battle. There is Clint Dempsey, but he has yet to get his land legs in Seattle, Brad Evans doesn’t play a position where he will score 10+ goals a year. So who does that leave us with?
Seattle will need to lean on a new crop of players. In 2013 Kenny Cooper had 6 goals and only one of them was a game winning goal, but in 2012 he dominated competition with 18 goals.You read that right, 18 GOALS. Had Chris Wondowlowski not had one of the best years in MLS history, Cooper would have been the toast of the town. Of the 18 goals, 7 of them were game winning goals. C-l-u-t-c-h. Obafemi Martins had limited availability in 2013 starting 17 games and playing in 20, adding 8 goals to his tally for the year, good enough to tie for second on the team with Lamar Neagle. What separates Martins, is 5 of those 8 goals were game winning goals. Most Clutch.
If you had to choose one over the other, during the flip of the coin, the coin would land stand upright, refusing to let gravity choose a “better player”. Cooper is in a unique position, having played for the Timbers before, a defeat at his feet would deal a sweet irony only suitable for games of such magnitude. Martins, a year into his MLS debut, is primed to seize command of a team looking for a leader. The “Weatherman” and ‘Super Eagle” bring a blue collar mentality to the pitch. While taking very different journeys to get there, they both arrive as soccer journeyman, looking to imprint a final stamp on both of their legacies. There is a passion and energy when either of them step between the lines.
There is no better time than Saturday at Portland for either or both to cement their name in the halls of Sounders supremacy. It only takes one goal. National Audience? Check. Storied Rivalry? Check. Pure hate? Double-check. ”
Heroes get remembered, but legends never die