Taking place on a neutral pitch in Charleston, South Carolina, the loss was the club’s first true defeat since dropping a narrow 2-1 contest to FC Dallas on October 16th of last year. (The Sounders also dropped the second leg of the Western Conference Semifinals on November 6th, but simultaneously won the series on aggregate scoring.)
The match was witnessed by new Seattle Times soccer reporter Geoff Baker, who will follow the club throughout their first season since winning the 2016 MLS Cup. Baker, a longtime journalist at the Times, brings an impressive résumé to his coverage of the team.
Assuming the beat from Matt Pentz – who, surprisingly, was let go in a cost-cutting move by the paper – Baker transitions from his immediate role of Sports Business Reporter to the more coveted position he now occupies.
As Sports Business Reporter, Baker led the charge in spinning details about a potential Key Arena renovation – details he shared on a recurrent basis in a sizable dossier of articles on the subject. At the same time, Baker became renowned in his role for, among other things, tangling with readers on social media, taking a bevy of vacations, and having access to the purveyors of a SoDo Arena project revoked due to unfriendly tensions between parties.
Prior to that, Baker held the title of Seattle Mariners reporter for eight seasons (2006-2013), a period in which the team he covered compiled a win-loss record of 586-710 (.452) and failed to make the playoffs. Per his self-edited Wikipedia page, the 49-year-old’s tenure on the Mariners beat was preceded by an eight-year stint (1998-2005) covering a losing Toronto Blue Jays club that also saw no postseason action during that span.
In a season that’s sure to be full of intrigue for Sounders FC fans, the emergence of the team’s new beat reporter should be worth watching as 2017 rolls on.