Saturday, September 19, 2009

The Latin nerd edition

It was less unlucky and more tragedy.

Like the Greek King Sisyphus, cursed to repeatedly roll a huge boulder up a hill, the Sounders created chance after chance, only to watch the ball roll back down the other side of the mountain, never to reach the back of the net.

The Sounders blew an opportunity to take control of the playoff race Saturday when they drew 0-0 with Chivas. Seattle played well in all areas except the one that perhaps matters most – finishing, where they were denied time and again by the brilliant Zack Thornton.

While certainly not a must win, the Sounders will rue this loss. Whether it will cost them a higher seed or the playoffs altogether remains to be seen.

In honor of the Sounders’ tragic performance, I give you the blow-by-blow, complete with Classical allusions (thanks to Prost Amerika for writing excellent match reports and my high school Latin teacher Ms. MacDonald).

Latin nerds holla back:

6’ Zeus punished Prometheus for stealing fire from the Gods by tying him to a rock and sending an eagle every day to feed on the poor bastard’s magically regenerating liver. But what did Freddie Ljungberg do to provoke this endless series (okay only 3) of awful corners? Ljungberg, stop f-ing with the Gods!

15’ Like Clytemnestra, who had nightmares that she gave birth to a snake because she murdered her philandering, child-sacrificing husband Agamemnon, Sebastien Le Toux will be having nightmares of Zack Thornton tonight after the Chivas keeper made that point-blank reaction save.

35’ Ljungberg’s cross is an inch too far for Steve Zakuani to reach – just like 26.2 was a bit too far for the Greek messenger Pheidippides to run after the battle of Marathon. “Victory,” the Athenian yelled, before dying from exhaustion. Luckily, Zakuani looks fine and continues running (soccer players are amazingly fit).

50’ What do Sappho, Socrates and Zakuani have in common? All three have their way with whomever they like – Sappho with women, Socrates with men, Zakuani with Chivas defenders. But Steve’s header can’t penetrate goal this time – tough break playa’.

60’ Montero’s spectacular bicycle kick almost goes in – just like the Spartans almost held off the Persians at Thermopylae. In related news, US Weekly reports that Zack Snyder, director of 300, has signed Montero to play himself, shirtless, in an upcoming, unspeakably violent movie about the Columbian forward’s heroic miss.

67’ The Sounders score but the linesman rules it off due to offside. You may know that King Oedipus gouged out his own eyes when he discovered that he had killed his father and married his mother -- apparently the linesman did the same before the game.

75’ Ljungberg fires just wide of net as the Sounders turn up the pressure against Chivas who is a man down. Heracles performed 10 labors to make up for murdering his children, and now Chivas plays with 10 men to atone for Saragosa’s attack on Montero.

83’ Thornton saves from Montero then Zakuani. The Chivas keeper is like Horatius at the bridge who, despite being wounded by a spear in the buttock, saved Rome by holding off an entire army.

90’ Hector was a great Trojan warrior who stepped up and fought Achilles man v. man even though he was pretty sure he was going to die. Ljungberg has a great run and control – do you think the Swede knew his cheeky chip shot was never going to beat Thornton, not on this day.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Ticket to Ride

Not since The Ring Two has there been a more menacing phone message -- the ticket rep from the Sounders called Tuesday and threatened me.

Actually, he was very nice, but he warned that the team is running out of space on its waitlist for 2010 season tickets. My friend and I had better get our acts together or we’d be SOL, forced to sell naming rights of future first born children in exchange for single game seats.

It’s September and the Sounders have 7,000 people lined up who are dying for season tickets next year, and those are on top of the 22,000 who already have season tickets for this season and will have the option to renew.

Basically so many people want season tickets that the Sounders have almost run out of paper on which to write down names.

This team is special and everyone wants to be a part of it.

So put down your deposits for 2011 season tickets before it’s too late.

And let’s be loud Saturday!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

The baby-momma edition:

That’s right Wicks, yo momma’s got a house that's so dusty, the cockroaches drive around in Dune Buggies.

My friend Kapena, his 6-month-old baby and I sat down to watch the Sounders’ revenge match against D.C. United yesterday.

Before the game Montero basically said he didn’t care that D.C. United goaltender Josh Wicks had stomped on him after he had scored a crucial goal in the Sounders cup win. Montero and the Sounders just wanted to win this game.

But he was lying and the baby knew it, and while the best revenge was the win, it was even sweeter because both Sounders points were “F- you” goals – not only defeating United but embarrassing Wicks.

Meanwhile, the baby took revenge the only way she knew how.

* * *

Montero began trash-talking from nearly the opening minute.

Your teeth are so big, your momma must have hooked up with Mr. Ed,” I imagined Montero telling Wicks as he lingered around the goal after the D.C. keeper had collected an overly ambitious pass.

“Yeah Wicks,” the baby seemed to say as she reached for a toy. “Yo momma’s so angry, the McDonalds she works in doesn't even serve Happy Meals.

Remarkable child.

But Sounder mid-fielder Steve Zakuani got the first real revenge blow when he scored between Wicks’ legs only four minutes into the game. He added a bit of flare to his insult with his “chi-chi” dance celebration.

Kapena and I shouted and high fived and the baby gave a celebratory cry, “That’s right Wicks, yo momma’s got a house that's so dusty, the cockroaches drive around in Dune Buggies.”

The first half ended calmly – the Sounders and baby seemed continent with a 1-0 lead though both occasionally looked dangerous.

In the second half, there was a lot more crying. Rodney Wallace equalized for United and Emilio created two terrifying chances on the left side.

The Sounders were also getting pushed around physically and the only retaliation seemed to come from the baby.

“Yo momma’s got more chins than a Hong Kong phone book,” she wailed at Wicks as he collected a Le Toux cross.

Kapena, however, bore the brunt of her frustration. He scurried to the kitchen to microwave frozen baby formula as she cried. The baby drank and drank, but then her cries returned – she was thirsty for goals and revenge. Not milk.

But then Montero stepped up, backing up all the trash talk by beating Wicks near-post in the 84th minute for the game-winning goal.

He celebrated by pretending to hit a homerun, admiring it disappear, deep into the D.C. night. The baby gloated at Wicks, “You know, yo momma should be locked away, cuz every time she moons people, they turn into werewolves.”

As the Sounders time wasted and ran out the game clock, the baby began to dance – not that creepy Ally McBeal baby dance. But a cute, mother-assisted (Claudia had come back just in time for Montero’s revenge) -- “my legs don’t work yet, but I’m happy that the Sounders won and mom is home” dance.

“What do I have to be upset about?” Claudia intoned sweetly in a baby voice – a voice very different from what I had been hearing all game long.

And the baby smiled.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The cable guy screwed up!

I hadn’t been so excited since I was 13 and I realized the family TV got ESPN.

“The cable guy screwed up,” I said then, in a shocked whisper; “The cable guy screwed up!” I shouted with intense glee.

Yes, the screen was snowy: Dan Patrick looked like a troll; okay, Dan looked normal, but the rest of the screen was really tough to make out.

It didn’t matter. I was getting ESPN for free!

That same excitement raced through me Wednesday when I clicked on and discovered that I could watch the USA World Cup qualifier against Trinidad and Tobago streaming on line for free (through my expensive broadband connection).

“The cable guy screwed up,” I gasped, just moments before Ricardo Clark’s thunder strike put USA up for good 1-0.

But the cable guy hadn’t screwed up – he had cut a deal.

I had tried to watch before but couldn’t because Comcast, my bastard Internet provider, refused to pay ESPN for the right to broadcast its content. But unbeknownst to me, in July, Comcast agreed to start paying and began offering ESPN360 to its customers.

ESPN has become such a dominant player in the sports marketplace that it can bend cable companies to its knees. Now I and 43 million other American households get ESPN360, because various Internet providers have agreed to pay an estimated $25 million to deliver content over the next year.

This is a revolutionary business model on the Internet where content is paid for often by advertising, occasionally by consumers, and sometimes by no one at all.

What’s next, some newspaper with cojones the size of Kent telling Google that its search engine will have to pay to link to the paper’s Website?

Well, ESPN, remember, “Power corrupts. Absolute power is kind of fun.”

So good luck and bring me more free soccer!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Sounders make marriage work

If the Sounders can’t go 3-0-3, do they even deserve to stay married?

My blog begins with two big pieces of news: I just got married and the Sounders have about a 55 percent chance of making the playoffs, which, coincidentally, is just about the same as my odds of staying married (60 percent).

Now, there's been a lot of talk on the blogs about which other teams to root for in order to increase the Sounders playoff chances. (See the posts here and here and here).

This talk of odds (while kind of addicting) misses the point. With six games left, it's way too early to be rooting for results in games where the Sounders aren't playing. It's like me rooting for a sunny day because it puts my wife in a better mood -- if our marriage depends on the weather, then I've got bigger problems.

The truth is, the Sounders and I are both firmly in control of our playoff and marital destinies. To demonstrate, here are the remaining Sounders games and their marital equivalents:

D.C. United – Take out the garbage
Chivas USA – Keep it in your pants
New England Revolution – Ask her how she's doing, listen, nod and repeat.
Columbus Crew – Remember key dates: birthdays, anniversaries, etc.
Kansas City Wizards – Have fun together (take her to the last regular season Sounders home game)
FC Dallas – Bring home the bacon (get a job)

Okay, so Chivas is definitely a must win game for both of us. But the others… well, let’s just say you don’t have to remember every birthday to make the playoffs. Nope, no one, not even my wife, is expecting 6-0-0.

For example, if I can Keep It in My Pants (Chivas), Bring Home the Bacon (Dallas) and Have Fun with My Wife (Kansas City), I’ve got a pretty good chance of making the playoffs (80 percent according to the stats gurus at And really, if the Sounders can’t go 3-0-3 (9 points in their last six games), do they even deserve to stay married? Probably not.

In fact, if the Sounders can exceed the bare minimum and even remember to take the garbage just some of the time (draw at DC), then they’ve got a 96 percent chance of making the playoffs.

Now, as my wife would say, “Is that really too much to ask?”