Before the Revolution and after Red Bull Run. Sounders 30-year-old for-mid-fender, Roger Levesque, is the most disliked Sounder by Portland Timber fans. His game winning goal followed by his “scuba dive” celebration is sure to plant seeds of disapproval further east in the New York Red Bull camp. ”For-mid-fender” is coach Sigi Schmid‘s creative position title for Levesque, because of his willingness and hustle to do whatever he can to help the team, including playing any field position.
A quick dive-down through the key match points. After only 12-minutes Sounders built a 2-nil lead. Sounders 2011 stats would suggest that lead is insurmountable. Then again, this is the crazy world of soccer. New York would half the lead by half-time. Then a Sounders rare Own-Goal by defender Zach Scott in the 58th minute. With the score level at 2-2 in the 58th minute, Sigi Schmid made a surprise early substitution. He sent on Roger Levesque for Michael Fucito. The move replaced short up front speed, with a little more height and up front hustle. The move paid solid dividends. From a well placed Leo Gonzalez corner, Levesque flicked home a headed goal and Seattle took a 3-2 lead.
Then came the moment that has gone internet viral. Red Bull defenders feeling pressure from Levesque and Montero, played a usual ball back to keeper Greg Sutton, who took the ball at his feet and prepared to distribute it up field. Unfortunately for his head, his feet had a momentary lapse. His first touch bobbled awkwardly, and Instead of clearing the ball away, Sutton only managed to bounce the ball in front of his feet. Levesque dove in and was able to swipe away the free-swimming ball. He quickly settled control away from Sutton, and only had to walk the ball into the net. Sutton looked on in broken disbelief.
Goal celebrations are an important part of sports entertainment. US Soccer, unlike the NFL is not known for many well choreographed celebrations. Two historic examples do stand out. One is Brandi Chastain’s World Cup winning penalty kick against China. Dropping to the ground, throwing off her shirt and raising her hands in celebration. Truly one of the most memorable US Soccer moments. That one made the cover of Sports Illustrated. Almost as epic was Landon Donovan’s 2010 World Cup goal against Algeria. He ran and slid to the corner flag with his teammates following and piling on top.
Levesque’s was not as international. It will definitely make the 2011 top-10 charts and received more media attention than any recent extracurricular soccer affair. Non-FIFA related that is. Running behind Sutton’s shrunken goal, Levesque perched a seat atop the electronic ad-board lining the outside of the field. He put his fingers to his nose, then fell into a pool of celebration. He called this the “scuba dive”. Harmless. But surely not to be forgotten in New York.
Before moving on to Sounder Sunday with Fort Revolution, there was a small soccer gathering in Southern California between El Tri and Team Chicharito competing against the Red, White, and Blue US Boys of Summer, for the 2011 Gold Cup Final. Nearly 100,000 attended the thrilling match. US took an early surprise lead going up 2-nil. Then once Mexico scored, the US defense was never able to regain composure and Mexico found a steady stream of glory. Winning 4-2, this will be remembered as an epic US collapse as well as the most talented and inspired Mexican squad. The Rose Bowl Rendezvous, like Sutton’s blunder will surely not be forgotten.
The Revolution bring back Sounder trouble maker, Shalrie Joseph. His size and skill in midfield is tough for any team to handle. The Sounders are no exception. How to solve for Shalrie? Against New York Red Bulls, Zach Scott put a couple of solid defensive tackles on star Dwayne De Rosario. Shalrie is a bit more retaliatory than De-Ro, so the potential for backlash is greater, but the early effort could help creep a sense of irritation into Joseph’s head. When he roams free and unobstructed he is one of the best in MLS. If the Sounders frustrate him, the door for a third straight win could be pushed open. It will be a physical task. Being the third game in a week doesn’t help. So goes mid-season life for a Sounder.
Qwest Field was officially renamed CenturyLink Field. The introduction was made prior to the start of the Red Bulls match. The first night affair saw the Sounders first ever four goal match, and a new attendance record of 46,754.
The July transfer window is nearly open and MLS rumors of big name signings are piling up. The Sounders are heaped in the middle of the rumor mills. One to watch and one to hope for. Rumored to be attending was Ghana National, Prince Tagoe. Tagoe was part of the Ghana team that eliminated the US from the 2010 World Cup. A hopeful name for this author is Diego Forlan, from the 2010 Uruguay National Team. Both of carry high prices and could easily be silly rumors. It does show that the Sounders attendance gives them enough pedigree to be considered a legitimate home for big name stars.
This contradicts my opinion that developed players are ultimately more valuable than Designated Players, but that is another longer post. Until then, it is off to the Revolution.
Mid-Season Poll Question. Add your comments of who you would like to see come to the MLS.
No contributions or detailed references this week. Please follow my link to Prost Amerika Soccer. If you enjoy Sales on Sounders, you will equally appreciate the passion, humor, and intelligence put into that site.
© 2011 by Ryan Sales – Sales on Sounders