*Game spoilers if you haven’t watched yet!*
This month kicks off the Sounders’ MLS season, but this morning the fun started a little early. Last year the team won the CCL trophy and earned a spot to represent CONCACAF in the Club World Cup, a tournament including the champions from each of the world’s soccer/football regions. They are the first USA team to participate with the first US coach, and today we had the first MLS shot on goal in the tournament.
The Sounders were underdogs going in, and the MLS is not considered a top league in the world. While expectations were not high, I think most Sounders fans believed they could win and advance to play Real Madrid. For eighty-eight minutes, the rest of the world wondered too.
It was, unfortunately, not the day for that next piece of history to be made. A messy play, a bad deflection, and Al Ahly scored in the final minutes of the game. Until that moment, I thought they could sneak one past the goalie and get the win. They played better in the first half and held off against some nice counters in the second half. For a team whose season ended in October and who only had one practice game to prepare, they looked really good out there.
I wish those last two subs had come on sooner (my expert, “I’ve played rec soccer a few times” opinion). I think they could have used fresh legs out front earlier than that to regain some of the pressure they put on Al Ahly in the first half. The finishing was also lacking, which is the only piece worrying me. Last season, they lost too many games because they couldn’t get the shots on target.
Overall, I feel good about this MLS season and getting back to the Sounders’ playoff ways. The first game is on the 26th, and I will be there!