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It's Tough Out Here In the Bush Leagues

Posted by Aaron

I wish to implore the numerous Villa fans cursing our inability to finish to take a few hours out of your day and watch the Seattle Sounders morph from an absolutely dominant force into a pack of uncoordinated, flailing invalids the second the ball enters the scoring area.

I am aware that MLS is a second-tier league at best. I am aware that tonight's match was a completely meaningless pre-season friendly, shrewdly scheduled against a bitter lower-division rival set to make their way up to a higher level of competition, gussied up as a "Community Shield" match, so vitally important that Freddie Ljungberg spent the first fifteen minutes of the second half in the locker room and the remainder of the game napping on the bench. It mattered very little.

Still, losing a derby (even a derby with no real implications that the Sounders were in no way taking seriously) is never fun. Losing a derby that your side completely and totally dominated, save for one breakaway resulting from a blown opportunity that ultimately led to the winning goal, is worse. The Sounders managed sixteen shots, the Timbers six. (As an aside, the Timbers seemed somewhat reminiscent of Villa in their gameplan, content to park the bus and capitalize on the counter-attack, a strategy that led to one goal and one poorly-aimed gift that somehow found woodwork instead of net.) Portland were rendered largely irrelevant in the midfield, threatened the Sounders goal on those rare occasions that they were able to win balls in their own end and capitalize on long passes and maintained possession approximately 13% of the time (it is possible that this last figure is something of an embellishment.) Their defense was adequate, but the Sounders were allowed numerous chances and absolutely flubbed every single one of them.

It was akin to watching an entire attack composed of Emile Heskeys.

The outcome of this match meant very little (if anything) to me, and it's not the loss that was frustrating. It was the realization that this team is unbelievably inept at putting the ball between the posts and that such a shortcoming can allow a team from one of the lowest divisions in professional soccer make them look dumb.

Tonight was a reminder that as much as I love my Sounders (and I truly, truly do) there's a reason I drag my ass out of bed at 6:00 AM on Saturday mornings to watch Villa.