Some talking points from last night's embarassment of riches:
Seattle proved a brilliant setting for Wednesday night's shellacking (I mean game) versus the Sounders, the second match in United's coast-to-coast American tour. I've said it before, and I'll say it again: Seattle is a beautiful city. When the sun shines, I almost think I could live there. The problem is that the sun shines in Seattle about three times a year. For those of you who aren't too familiar with the Pacific Northwest, they get a bit of rain out there.... The Sounders' fans are pretty rabid. They made noise all night despite the rout occuring before their very eyes. To my understanding, there's only about nine or ten football teams in the world that regularly draw more fans to their games than the Sounders. And while the stadium looked beautiful, the pitch was crap. The grass was coming up in bunches as the first half wore down.... United looked a bit at sixes and sevens as the game commenced, and the Sounders took the game to them. I know the team is just getting used to playing again after a few weeks off, but Lindegaard had to make a bunch of early saves, even if they were relatively easy ones. And repeating their "road form" from last year, the boys gave away possession cheaply a number of times, with even Vida being guilty as charged. The Reds played their way back into the match after a torrid opening from the home side, and managed to open the scoring on their first shot of the evening, courtesy of Michael Owen's head. Casey Keller looked a bit agitated as United came back into the game, yelling at his defenders on numerous occasions. I guess leaving men unmarked in the 18 yard box will do that to you. At the other end of the pitch, Anders Lindegaard looked beautifully composed as he shut down several Seattle chances with some fine saves. It would be a real luxury to have a second 'keeper to be confident about, and Anders' initial job interview seems to be going swimmingly. There was a somewhat bizarre sequence involving Michael Owen at the end of the first half, in which the diminutive striker was put in one-on-one versus Casey Keller, and failed to beat the American 'keeper. Then, on the resulting corner, Owen blocked the ball from going into the Seattle net after it had beaten Keller. The half should have ended 2-nil with at least one of those chances ending up in the back of the net. Oh well, I guess that's what pre-season is for. Or the second half, which proved a whole different kettle of fish as the Reds (in blue) ultimately put six past the hilariously misnamed Seattle goalkeeper Terry Boss. Equally open, in the second 45 United began to put away almost all of the clear cut opportunities they generated -- which were substantial in number, and in fact, verged on preposterous -- as they jumped out to a 3-nil lead via Mame Biram Diouf (on a nice, angled finish) and Wayne Rooney (on a straight forward, composed finish). United's performance then went from the sublime to the ridiculous, as they rained in three goals faster than I could type this blog. Rooney added two more to collect his hat trick, and Parky added his name to the score sheet, as well, for a six-nil bulge.
When Gabrial Obertan kicked the extra point on United's night, the gaping chasm in disparity between one of the MLS' best sides -- Seattle was unbeaten for nine in a row before tonight -- was never more apparent, as the Premier League Champions made the home side look like a bunch of grade schoolers playing kick about.... If MLS' intent in scheduling these games was to show how far the League has come, the move backfired spectacularly, and I have only one word for Commissioner Don Garber to describe the league's product: embarassing.