Just days after this blog leapt to defend Sounders F.C.--and soccer in general--from a know-nothing P-I sports columnist (who called the team's recent 0-0 playoff match "ninety minutes of nothing"), the Sounders delivered yet another scoreless 90 minutes of regulation play against the Houston Dynamo yesterday. But "nothing" would be a too-kind way to describe what went on at Major League Soccer's Western Conference Semi-Final.
Evenly matched--in lameness.
At a certain point yesterday, it appeared that each team might actually stand a better chance of retaining possession of the ball if they deliberately tried to pass it to the opposing players. Attempting to pass to members of their own squad sure wasn't working. The game perhaps reached its lowest point when the two goalkeepers, in succession, launched the ball so wildly down the field, it just ended up being collected by the other. When the goalkeepers are playing catch over the heads of the other 20 players, it's generally a sign of a game that's not big on ball-control.
The Sounders did a ton of things right in their first season, especially in the realms of marketing and fan appreciation. But yesterday, unfortunately, was emblematic of everything that's often gone wrong on the field. Failure to finish at the goal. Failure to change game plan when one corner kick after the next (after the next) misses the same mark. Failure to string together more than two passes at a time. How sad to see the team's worst flaws on continuous display during what turned out to be the season's final game. This was the kind of 0-0 match we'd happily live without.