Good news, bad news

7 11 2010

First, the bad. Very disappointing performance by the Seattle Sounders against the L.A. Galaxy tonight, until the closing minutes when they were able to salvage some pride. Not a single goal in four playoff games until that point.

The Los Angeles Galaxy is a very quality side and deserves all the credit in the world. But let’s start with a look at all the other MLS quarterfinal playoff series.

San Jose-New York: The second leg could have gone either way, and New York led after the first. San Jose showed so much resolve in winning.

Columbus-Colorado: PKs to decided the winner, need I say more?

FC Dallas-Real Salt Lake: What an atmosphere at Rio Tinto in the closing minutes as RSL threw everything it had at FCD to force overtime, but the Hoops prevailed by one.

The Sounders were outplayed, plain and simple. The Galaxy’s stars shined, the Sounders’ were largely neutralized. Bruce Arena got the better of the coaching matchup over Sigi Schmid. Seattle is now winless in four playoff legs in two seasons, despite having a solid roster of players and the most vocal, devoted fan base in MLS.

This team needs to develop a killer instinct. It needs a presence up front to lead the attack and become the heart of the team, a la Conor Casey or Brian Ching or Landon Donovan. It needs to finish more chances and learn how to respond when the chips are down.

Their fans deserve better. The question is, are they willing to settle for making the playoffs and getting knocked out early two straight years, and at what point do the supporters start demanding more?

Do they give the Sounders coaches and management another pass in 2011?

The Sounders clearly have to win at home in the playoffs to have a chance, because their game suffered on the road in 2009 at Houston and tonight in California. They have to play with a lead.

So I have booked passage to Toronto for the MLS Cup this month. And guess who won’t be there? The Sounders. I’m going to see an MLS championship game between either the Galaxy or Dallas vs. either San Jose or Colorado.

Kind of a downer if you ask me. Seattle belongs in that game as the league’s showcase team. But the Sounders have to earn it, regardless of whether the playoff system has to be modified, and they haven’t.

OK, the good news. I have a new job. I’m an online content editor for CBSSports.com’s NFL coverage, start tomorrow. But to those of you who want to know, I don’t plan to stray completely away from soccer.

More good news: Oregon is still No. 1 in college football!

Well, Seattle, at least the 2011 MLS season will bring with it Cascadia. Definitely something to look forward to and it should make the next few months go by a little faster.

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