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.
The sun is out and baseball season is upon us, which means the Mariners and their scorching hot start are top of mind. Things are looking up for the hometown nine, but have you seen Dae-Ho Lee in Super-Mo yet? Truly something to behold.
The NCAA National Championship was one for the ages, plus what exactly did the Sounders TV play-by-play announcer do that’s so hilarious?
All that and more on this week’s Karate Emergency!
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.
As you may know, I am not a huge soccer fan. Running for 90 minutes is not my idea of fun. Kicking is not my idea of fun. Taking balls to the face is not my idea of fun. But that’s just me. I respect those of you who do find soccer to be fun. I do enjoy winning, and as the Sounders have made it a point to win quite often since their inception, that, to me, is fun.
With all that said, I have been fortunate enough to receive a pair of tickets to next Wednesday’s Sounders-Chelsea match thanks to Allstate Insurance. They told me to do with these tickets as I wish, so long as I passed along a little info about an event preceding the contest. Here are the details:
Before the game, new World Football Challenge sponsor Allstate Insurance is giving Sounders fans the chance to meet former Major League Soccer star and recent Soccer Hall of Fame inductee Tony Meola as part of the Allstate Fan Zone, an interactive display just outside of the stadium. The Allstate Fan Zone will be open from 4:30-6:30 p.m., and the Tony Meola meet-and-greet autograph session will run from 5:00-6:15 p.m. While there, Allstate is also giving fans the chance to register on-site to win tickets to future Sounders home games.
I encourage you to check out the Meola event, if for no other reason than because Allstate was kind enough to give me these tickets.
Oh, and yeah, you probably want a chance to win these tickets. To do that, just follow me on Twitter (@alexssn) and tweet me with the hashtag #alexssnTIX. That’s all you gotta do. I’ll pick a winner at random by Monday morning, at which point the tickets are yours. Good luck!
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?
Every city has its problems and Seattle is no exception. From public spending to transportation and everything in between, the politics of these everyday issues make for no easy solutions.
But what about sports? We often tend to forget that sports are one of the most important components to a functioning municipality. We view sports as recreation, as a diversion from everyday life, when in reality sports help to create, fund, and maintain the everyday lives we lead.
From generating dollars and cents in the economy, to providing multi-purpose venues for public use, to building a sense of community, sports are an integral part of our city and require their own care and maintenance to thrive at a certain level.
It is on us, as citizens, to address areas in need of extra attention in all facets of our city, including sports. Hence, we’ve created a list of 11 ways that the Seattle sports scene can be improved. Your suggestions and additions are more than welcome, as well.
11. Do Something (Anything!) With Mercer Arena
There’s a good chance that many of you have no clue what Mercer Arena is, which just goes to show how irrelevant Seattle Center’s other arena has become.
Seattle Sounders FC coach Sigi Schmid says there’s too much flopping in soccer. We couldn’t agree more. That’s why we have a plan to revolutionize the international game of football. And yes, it involves weapons.
Soccer may be catching on here in Seattle, but around America it still takes a back seat to other sports, like competitive hot dog eating, mixed martial arts, and hockey. Americans don’t like soccer because it’s too soft, with an abundance of the aforementioned flopping. The last thing we want to see is a bunch of pansy cheaters compete against one another to see who can alter the game more by bending the rules and manipulating the officials. So what can we do about that?
Here’s our five-step plan.
1. Allow fighting.
We can look to hockey as the example. The purist may tune in to watch the action, but the casual fan wants to see guys beat the hell out of each other. That’s where soccer is completely missing the boat.
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.
“PoIndexter helps Washington pad lead in Pac-10.” Exact heading (minus the formatting) taken from SI.com. In a related story, Washington self-reports rules infraction for inserting mystery player not previously on roster, Poindexter, into lineup prior to gametime.