MLS Playoffs: Sounders Fall Short... Again
They had the game won and a ticket to the MLS Cup Final in their grasp.
Leading 2-0 early in the second half of Sunday's Western Conference Final tilt against the LA Galaxy, the Seattle Sounders led 2-1 on goal difference and were on their way to face the New England Revolution in the final. Juninho and the LA Galaxy, however, had different plans.
In the 54th minute, Juninho blasted a strike outside the 18 yard box off of a corner, denting the Sounders' hopes to complete the MLS treble (Supporters' Shield, US Open Cup, MLS Cup). Even though the Sounders were winning 2-1, the aggregate score was 2-2 with the Galaxy getting an important away goal in this match. But even still, the Sounders were not out - they had 36 long minutes to score another goal. Unfortunately for them, LA wanted this as badly as they did.
After giving up two first half goals - in the 26th minute to Brad Evans and in the 32nd minute to Clint Dempsey - the Galaxy defense stepped up their game and shut down the Sounders' potent attack.
No one can deny that the Sounders played an excellent game. They just fell on the wrong side of the silly away goals rule. Don't get me wrong - the LA Galaxy are a great squad with world-class players; yet, with all that the Sounders have endured and accomplished this year, it felt as if they could go all the way.
No matter the result, this was still one of the most successful seasons in the short history of the Seattle Sounders. Winning the US Open Cup, the Supporters' Shield, and reaching the MLS Cup Western Conference Championship is no small feat, and after this elimination, the players deserve to hold their heads high. They gave the avid fans, decked out in rave green, everything to cheer for - superb saves, clinical passes, wonderful goals.
To Seattle, these Sounders are winners in their own right. They fought hard all season long and played until the final whistle every single time.
However, one can only wonder - what could have been if just one more shot had gone in.