Fortress for A Week (Or So)

After a couple trips back east and a bus ride to BC, the Sounders get to make themselves at home for the rest of May.

A three-match home stand featuring visits by Sporting KC, Colorado and the Red Bulls presents no rollovers as they are a combined 3-3-9 on the road. The low-riding Rapids are actually unbeaten (1-0-4) and miserly (2 GA) away. Go figure.

Of course fans will settle for nothing less than nine points, preferably with two of the games lighting the flames on multiple occasions. Historically, that’s not too much to ask.

Each of the past two seasons Seattle has taken all the points from three-match stands, scoring eight times a year ago against Colorado, Philly and Dallas. That started a string of six straight home wins and set the Rave on a course for the Supporters’ Shield.

The Kingdome could be sunny or gloomy inside.

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Fewer Saves the Better

For every 10 kids out there dreaming of the day they deliver the big game-winning goal, there’s one moppet visualizing the sensational dive that saves the day.

These Tim Howard and Hope Solo wannabes may see themselves flinging themselves from post to post, effectively serving as a force field denying balls entry to the ol’ onion bag.

Nobody beats Barry Watling, at least not his 16 saves made vs. Denver in 1974.

Sometimes dreams come true, such as Kasey Keller’s signature performance versus Brazil in 1998. He saved everything, secured the shutout and the U.S. won, 1-0. But a busy day at the keeper’s office more often ends in defeat, such as Howard’s fate following his World Cup record 16 stops against Belgium.

So it should come no real surprise that in tying the Sounders FC record with 10 saves at Columbus, Stefan Frei was unable save the day. In fact, given that Frei’s made a total of 18 saves in the previous three matches, it’s a bit of a wonder that Seattle had won three straight.

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Time Travel: Let’s Go to the Video

There’s the underlying beat of disco and the images are grainy, but you get the picture. And that’s the bottom line. You’re watching America’s soccer heritage unfold in living color.

While it’s definitely not HiDef, videotapes from NASL broadcasts during the Seventies and early Eighties are in many ways more telling than any prose. If pictures are worth a thousand words, actual match footage is the closest anyone will get to a time machine.

Dave Brett Wasser has spent 20-plus years unearthing these forgotten volumes and now has amassed and converted to DVD more than 450 matches from the days when Sounders, Whitecaps and Timbers first roamed the turf.

NASL Soccer BallIt’s the most comprehensive collection of vintage soccer Americana anywhere. For a nominal fee ($12 per game; $10 each for five or more) Wasser has distributed worldwide copies of games featuring countless combinations, from the original, star-laden Cosmos to the short-lived, enigmatic Las Vegas Quicksilvers.

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A Comeback for the Ages

Where else would a 17-year-old, soccer-crazed kid find himself on a Saturday evening in spring but in the basement of his grandmother’s house.

If there was a party, it could wait. Besides, the good ones are just getting started around 10. That would provide ample time to arrive fashionably late. But enough about that and back to the basement.

I loved my Grandma Sadie dearly. Loved mowing and edging her expansive lawn and joining her for lunch afterward on Saturdays. However I must confess that when I returned for dinner later this particular night, it was mostly for the cable.

Yes, honestly cable TV was the attraction. It was 1977 and this new innovation that provided a clear picture and double the number of channels–like 10 altogether–was only available in Centralia’s downtown area, and not up on Seminary Hill where I lived. Located approximately halfway between Seattle and Portland on Interstate 5, Centralia was ideally situated to get both cities’ local affiliates via Craig McCaw’s (look him up) fledgling cable company. Up on the hill, our rabbit ears arrangement afforded only a grainy glimpse of the Seattle channels. Continue reading A Comeback for the Ages