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MLS Cup: Sounders win, soccer loses, MLS trudges on

No shots? No problem. Frei’s save sets up Seattle’s first MLS Cup title

Animatronic Sounders Winning Experience (TM) coming to a town or hamlet or whatever near you
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

We’ve emerged into a bold new post-truth era. Donald Trump is president-elect, despite a campaign that featured an absolute blizzard of untruths (and 2.5 million fewer votes). The CIA says Russian intelligence sought to influence the election, and the PEOTUS attacks ... the CIA. The Weird has awoken and is demanding its due.

Tonight, the Seattle Sounders acted out further evidence of the ever-increasing oddity of things, somehow eking out an MLS Cup victory over homestanding Toronto FC without registering even a single shot, much less on goal. Nil-nil A.E.T. (4-5) to summarize 120 minutes of desperately clawing and fouling each other in the pristine Toronto tundra? Sounds fair. The Sounders are MLS champions. Insert a tepid celebration meme here.

The penalty-kick lottery selected Justin Morrow - who’d created more chances than Seattle’s entire side - to play Fool. His kick was just that shade too high, and glanced off the crossbar hard, hammered down a foot in front of the goal line, and resolutely did not spin back toward goal.

Sounders are MLS Cup champs. Suck it, everyone else. Seattle invented winning without winning.

Hot (Time) take

Of course this is sour grapes. Gimme a friggin’ break. It’s hard to forget the day that Seattle tore out the Fire’s spine, Mortal Kombat-style, metaphorically. But Seattle clearly came into the game with a plan to frustrate the hosts and increase the pressure on them, and it worked. The Sounders pressed Toronto hard in the early going, unsettling the Reds in possession even though it meant surrendering quite a few half-chances - the majority of the chances this hard, slow game would see, in fact.

As an advertisement for the league, this game was pure garbage. But as a guy who thinks US soccer needs a slap-in-the-face-from-Patton moment, it was promising. Being great is harder than winning.

That said, if you’ve gotta point to That Moment, it was clearly Stephen Frei levitating to claw Jozy Altidore’s looping, goal-bound header from going in. It’s that save that enables the madness of winning without a shot. Impossible from about 7 different angles. If Frei ever buys a drink in Seattle again, I’d be surprised.