On Saturday, the Seattle Sounders waited until the 84th minute to pull ahead of the Philadelphia Union, thanks to a Chad Marshall header.
On Wednesday, it took four minutes longer for Kenny Cooper to slot home an Obafemi Martins cross for the familiar 2-1 winning margin against FC Dallas.
Blowouts are much more relaxing.
Still, it’s been a thoroughly enjoyable, if occasionally blood-pressure-raising, six-game run for the Sounders, who now sit comfortably atop the Western Conference at 22 points from 10 games.
The odd thing about this mid-week match: Even though the Sounders gave up yet another frustrating early goal – this time via an iffy PK given after Blas Perez tripped over Brad Evans’ feet – I wasn’t all that worried. These days, it’s more a matter of wondering how the team is going to win, rather than if.
More often than not, the how involves Obafemi Martins. He was his usual creative self all game long, assisting on both Sounders goals. Aside from his game-winning cross to Cooper, he set up Lamar Neagle for an equalizing tap-in 26 minutes earlier.
To think that before the season started Sounders fans wondered whether or not Oba was even going to be with the team this year is absurd. It’s impossible, or at least scary, to think about this club without him. There’d be no partnership with Clint Dempsey. No backflips. I can’t even … let’s just be glad he decided to stay.
[A tangent: Hanging in my closet is a “super cyan” Eddie Johnson jersey that I raced out to buy the day the eye-gougingly ugly third kit was released. We all know how that turned out. I am resisting buying the new “pitch black” shirt and putting “ObaFlips” on the back because I sorta believe it will jinx everything. This is how sports fans think.]
Let’s cruise through the rest of this match with the List of Notable Things:
Thing No. 1: Here’s something I tweeted after Baldomero Toledo gave the PK:
— Mike Standish (@MikeStandish) May 8, 2014
Yes, I had few beers and some tequila before the game, but I don’t think that reaction is entirely unwarranted.
Thing No. 2: FC Dallas could be called cynical. There was a lot of time-wasting, even early in the first half. It’s like they knew. Like they were trying to forestall the inevitable. Also, Michel is giving Steven Lenhart a serious run for player I most want to see shat upon by a seagull.
Thing No. 3: How nuts is that Kenny Cooper is essentially a super-sub who comes on in the last 10 minutes of matches to provide an offensive punch? And that’s not a knock on Cooper. He’s good at it, and this team is stacked up front. What, is Sigi supposed to bench Neagle?
Thing No. 4: Speaking of depth, the Sounders’ back line still played well, despite missing their first two left back choices: Dylan Remick and Leo Gonzalez both sat this one out, which meant Brad Evans got the nod at left back, which cleared a midfield spot for Marco Pappa.
Thing No. 5: The away match against New England on Sunday will likely be the last chance to see the Sounders with their full lineup intact, what with the World Cup camp looming. Obviously, Clint Dempsey is getting a call-up, and despite some rust, Brad Evans will as well. Thankfully, Nigeria didn’t call Oba. Phew. Dearest Jurgen, please don’t take DeAndre Yedlin.
Thing No. 6: Sometimes when I’m at work and need a break, I click on this and just stare at it and smile.