The Seattle Sounders FC kicked off their 2017 campaign in inauspicious fashion on Wednesday, falling by a score of 4-2 to upstart Atlanta United FC in the first preseason bout of the year.
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.
I love baseball. I always have. I’m a fan of many sports, but baseball has always been my favorite. For as long as I can remember, I’ve been enraptured by the game. Baseball, to me, is just the greatest.
When people tell me they can’t stand baseball, you have to figure I’d be appalled, but I’m not. I get it. Baseball is long, often tedious, and rather slow. Games last three hours on average and rely on no clock to keep things moving. Not only that, but your best players will elude success seventy-percent of the time, and really, who wants to witness that much failure? Learning the nuances of baseball — the obscure rules, the unwritten points of etiquette, not to mention the lingo — is on par with learning Mandarin. And let’s be honest, going to a game isn’t necessarily cheap. All those things add up to a level of discontent that I can empathize with. Because frankly, I feel the exact same way about soccer.
Ever since the Tanzania ads have been plastering the walls of the CLink this year there has only been one [football] loss by a Seattle Sports team (UW, yesterday). There is a large contingent on twitter led by Alex Akita of Seattle Sports Net (@alexSSN) that believe in the magical powers of the Kilimanjaro, and the Serengeti to propel Seattle teams to victory in epic fashion. –warox13, via Reddit.
I am not crazy. At least I don’t think I am. But I am a bit superstitious. And I do believe in luck. I’ll occasionally do things in threes, avoid breaking mirrors, and one time, precisely an hour after I renewed my AAA membership, my car broke down. That’s lucky. Sure, some genius might be able to explain the logic behind any incidence of good or bad fortune that has befallen me. But I don’t care to hear it. I choose to believe in luck for luck’s sake. It may be science. It may be supernatural. It may be spiritual. It may be magic. Who can really say for sure.
Editor’s note: From time to time we like to feature guest writers on the site. Today we welcome Ryan Scally to Seattle Sportsnet. Ryan is an avid soccer fan and accomplished scribe, providing matchday reporting for Goal.com, among other publications. You can find him on Twitter @NWSoccerGuy. If you’ve ever wanted more soccer coverage, here it is. Let us know what you think.
By Ryan Scally
“Playoffs!? Playoffs? You kiddin me?” These words were famously uttered by Indianapolis Colts head coach Jim Mora in a postgame news conference and has been used as a sound bite by every major sports network in the United States.
Two goals. Both by Sanna Nyassi (pictured above, second from right). That’s all it took for the Sounders FC to win their second consecutive U.S. Open Cup. In the process, they become the first MLS team ever to win back-to-back Open titles.
On top of all that, the hometown 11 displayed their talents in front of a record crowd of over 30,000 loyal spectators. Good work, fans.
Congratulations to the Sounders on their 2010 U.S. Open Cup Championship!
About a year ago, I was working in the athletic shoe department at Nordstrom when Freddie Ljungberg walked in the store. I knew it was Freddie Ljungberg by his smoking hot girlfriend. Because let’s face it, when you’re a dude who stands roughly 5’8″, it doesn’t matter how good you look, you need big money to pull a girl like the one he had with him.
Admittedly, I’m not a huge soccer fan, so I didn’t strike up a conversation with Ljungberg about the international game. Instead, we talked about Nike. Nike shoes, Nike apparel, the company itself. His girlfriend was trying on Nike Air Maxes. It made sense.
The more we talked, the more I came to the conclusion that Ljungberg was one of the coolest athletes I’d ever met. The dude could carry on a conversation, seemed genuinely interested in what we were talking about, and had zero attitude about him whatsoever. Maybe it had something to do with the fact that I didn’t want to talk with him about his job (soccer fans can be a little passionate around their heroes, from what I hear), or maybe he’s like that with everyone. Either way, he was a nice guy.
After losing 2-0 to the Sounders FC on Thursday night, Philadelphia Union head coach Peter Nowak decided the best way to deal with the inevitable barrage of losses that will follow his subpar expansion team around all season would be to accuse opposing players of being cheaters. Fantastic.
In a sport littered with flopping, dishonest behavior, and oft-suspect injuries, Nowak chose to single out Sounders FC forward Freddie Ljungberg as the sole perpetrator of all three traits. Never mind that Ljungberg is one of the best players in MLS or one of the better players in the entire world. And who the hell is Peter Nowak, anyways?
Seattle Sounders FC forward Fredy Montero (or “Mitsubishi,” as I like to call him) is in trouble. The best player on the hottest team in town has been accused of stalking and sexually assaulting a Sammamish woman within the past week. That’s not good.
The 21-year-old middle-of-the-road SUV has been a hit for the Sounders FC so far this year. He’s already recorded three goals in the team’s first two games, and was just named the MLS Player of the Month (or Playa of the Month, depending on your perspective).
Try to think back to the last time three Seattle teams won on the same day. Honestly, I can’t remember that ever happening. You’d likely have to go back to last season when the Sonics were still in town, the Huskies were still playing, and the Mariners were in the midst of Spring Training, and even then it would have been a fluke occurrence. And yet for the first time in ages, that is exactly what happened yesterday.
I said I was going to boycott the Sounders until Vini Oliveira returned, but I had to issue a reprieve for this. While perusing the sports blogs on SeattleTimes.com, I noticed that the Sounders FC blog made a reference to one “Peter Vagenas.” This must be some kind of joke, I thought to myself, because “Peter Vagenas” is just a terribly unfortunate name. But upon further review, I came to discover that Peter Vagenas did in fact exist, and played midfield for our local soccer team no less.
Vini Oliveira has been cut by the Sounders FC, and Drew Carey himself may as well have ripped out my heart. I am not a soccer fan, but I am a Vini fan. I watched Sounders Super Search and when Vini won the opportunity to join the team, I couldn’t help but feel happy for the Bellevue native and his family, who celebrated joyfully beside the newest Sounder.
Mariners: Ichiro pitching? Not in Jack Zduriencik’s world. The Mariners general manager quickly put an end to any rumor of Ichiro on the mound, briefly stating yesterday that Ichiro “isn’t going to pitch.” Period.
Zduriencik issued his statement in response to a 56-pitch bullpen session that the Mariner outfielder and leadoff man tossed over the weekend. The showcase took place in Japan, with Ichiro in preparation for the 2009 World Baseball Classic.
Husky Men’s Basketball: The Washington men’s basketball team received more national recognition today, as they appeared in both the Top 25 AP and USA Today/Coaches polls for the first time this season. The Dawgs elevated to #22 in the AP poll, up from #23 last week. They also emerged at #25 on the Coaches poll, the first time they’ve appeared on that list all year.
With KIRO radio’s transition to pure sports talk in the coming months, the station unveiled perhaps the biggest addition to their new format with the hiring of former Sonics announcer Kevin Calabro as the host of his own daily show. Calabro, who will also double as the play-by-play voice of the Seattle Sounders FC, has spent the past few months calling NBA games for TNT and Westwood One, as well as college basketball games for FSN.
The hiring of Calabro should pull a number of local sports fans away from the only current sports radio station in town, 950 KJR AM. Over the years, Calabro has been a frequent guest on KJR programs and has created a fan base of his own in the process. While some of KJR’s on-air personalities have pulled no punches in their early criticisms of the new KIRO, it will be interesting to see how they respond to the hiring of a friend in Calabro. If anything, this should help gloss the relationship between the competing media outlets.
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