Some fans like nail-biters. Close matches that leave your stomach churning with anxiety for 90+ minutes.
I am not one of those fans.
Give me a good, old-fashioned beat-down. Let me enjoy watching my team toy with its opponent like a cat teasing a last gasp of entertainment out of a doomed rodent.
Thankfully, the Sounders ditched their recent come-from-behind routine Saturday and laid waste to the Colorado Rapids 4-1, behind entertaining, joyful performances by Clint Dempsey, Obafemi Martins and Lamar Neagle.
It was a clinic put on by a Seattle team that looks as though it could be ready to go on a tear through the rest of the regular season schedule.
Let’s recount how much freaking fun this game was:
First 45 minutes: Actually a bit tedious. Little miscommunications, passes that weren’t quite good enough, shots on goal that didn’t quite pass muster.
But then … stoppage time. Martins in midfield, sees Clint Dempsey break to the goal between two Colorado defenders … who probably shouldn’t have let the league’s leading goal-scorer casually whip past. Perfect ball to Dempsey on the right side of the goal, forcing Rapids keeper Clint Irwin to make a run at him. Dempsey’s shot deflects off defender Drew Moor to Lamar Neagle, waiting at an empty net. 1-0 Sounders.
Martins. Dempsey. Neagle. That would be a theme on the day.
The scoring continued in the opening minutes of the second half. You do really need to watch it to see what a run of awesomeness Dempsey is on right now.
Look, just go to this highlight reel. Skip to the :37 mark and watch his spin-flick to Marco Pappa. Now watch it again. And again. Now watch the entire video of Dempsey highlights. Does that not fill your heart with happiness? Sure, Pappa missed, but Dempsey cleaned it up nicely. 2-0 Sounders.
Something that I think is a bit underestimated, though, among all the gushing about Dempsey: the impact of Chad Marshall’s play in the air on this team. Who else is going to get to that long corner kick in the 51st minute? Who else is going to head that corner right to Dempsey, who arced it home with a header of his own? 3-0 Sounders.
Then the Rapids scored on long, perfect pass between DeAndre Yedlin and Marshal. Blah, blah, blah. Who cares. Let’s get back to the Sounders scoring goals.
As a Sounders fan, I’m used to watching the other team start quick and catch our defense half-asleep. So it was nice to see Lamar Neagle alertly snag an out-of-bounds ball and sneak a throw in to Obafemi Martins in the 74th minute for the games final goal.
4-1 Sounders. Beat-down accomplished.
We’re not even a quarter of the way through the MLS season, and the World Cup is going to be a real test of the team’s ability to keep rolling, but there’s no reason to think the Sounders aren’t legit Supporters’ Shield and MLS Cup contenders.
Plus, Portland is still winless. This summer could be really fun, you guys.
(image courtesy of Ted S Warren/AP)