For Sounders Fans, This Weekend Might Feel Like Two Losses

The first, a 1-0 defeat to the Vancouver Whitecaps, will soon be forgotten – a bump in the road in an otherwise excellent first half of the season.

The second, a potential transfer of World Cup surprise breakout DeAndre Yedlin to AS Roma, would have much bigger implications.

The setback to the ‘Caps can be summed up pretty quickly: When you’re missing half your field players, you’re probably gonna lose. With a laundry list of absences that included Ozzie Alonso and Gonzalo Pineda for yellow card accumulation, as well as both Clint Dempsey and Yedlin to post-World Cup hangovers, it was never going to be an accurate measure of the Cascadia rivalry. The last-minute benching of Obafemi Martins with a mysterious hamstring injury made matters worse.

In a not too surprising development, what amounted to an early round US Open Cup roster for the Sounders was nearly ran off the pitch in the early going by an incredibly fast Whitecaps team.

The short summary:

• Erik Hurtado is super fast, but a bit panicky.
• 23-year-old midfielder Tristan Bowen got his first minutes as a Sounder and looked solid – quick and filled with potential.
• The Whitecaps shredded the Sounders on counter after counter and break after break, which is what happens when you continually give away the ball to a speedy team in dangerous locations.
• But somehow the only score came on a Goal of the Week blast from distance by Sebastian Fernandez.

If not for that last bullet, the Sounders may have been able to eek out a point on the road despite the depleted roster, because whatever Sigi Schmid yelled at halftime (he called out both Lamar Neagle and Kenny Cooper in the TV interview going into the break) woke the team up a bit, at least enough to make it interesting.

But whatever. The real news is DeAndre Yedlin going from fringe World Cup roster invitee to Brazil star off the bench to overseas transfer target.

Sunday morning saw this No Short Corners report with a supposedly all-but-done deal for Yedlin to move to AS Roma, with a loan back to the Sounders as they finish the current MLS season. Further speculation continued throughout the day on Twitter, and this definitely feels like a real transaction that’s not just speculation and rumor-mongering.

Being an MLS in 2014 is a bittersweet proposition. The league is growing like never before, and feels increasingly relevant on a worldwide stage. But it still suffers a salary cap that will yield casualties to bigger, more freely spending clubs in leagues like Serie A.

As I type this, I’m wearing my #2 Yedlin jersey, the number he wore prior to Dempsey’s arrival, because damn it, I got on the bandwagon early. This one is gonna hurt if it comes to pass.

It’s cruel being a fan of a big MLS club like the Sounders, who can spend a ton of money to bring Dempsey back, only to sell on a player like Yedlin who needs to go abroad to take the next step of his promising career.

What a strange state of puberty for the league. Big enough to bring American talent back for big dollars when they’re at the tail end of their primes (see: Dempsey, Michael Bradley, the list will continue to grow) but too small to keep that talent here for the duration of their career.

Ah, well – Yedlin deserves the opportunity, and it was inevitable I suppose. Watching him come off the bench to spark the national team was a thrill, even though with each speedy track-back I thought, in the back of my mind, “No! You’re playing to well. Everyone is going to realize how awesome you are.”

My consolation: I will keep my Yedlin jersey, and it will have an air of old-skool authority when the Sounders piss off the rest of the league by skipping the allocation order and bringing their homegrown player back on a DP deal in 8 years.

(image courtesy of Lindsey Wasson/The Seattle Times)

Mike Standish

About Mike Standish

Sounders writer for Total-MLS.com. You can reach me @mikestandish.

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