Just like all the other teams in MLS, the Seattle Sounders played 34 league matches. There were a lot of good matches and a few bad ones as well. Definitely more good matches than bad. So that got me thinking as to what the best match of the 2014 year could be. It could be any league match, US Open Cup match or playoff match.
For me personally it comes down to two matches. One was a league match while the other was an US Open Cup match. It was very tough for me to narrow it down to one or two matches. However I felt that these two meant more than any other match in 2014.
The first one for me took place back on September 16th in Chester, PA. The Sounders were playing in their fifth US Open Cup final in six years. Their opponent, the Philadelphia Union, were looking for their first ever trophy in their brief five-year history. I won’t get into many match details because we all know what happened. It was a match that the Sounders needed in more than one way.
First off, it put them on track to try to be the first MLS club ever to win the treble–US Open Cup, Supporters Shield and MLS Cup. It also helped get the sour taste out of their mouths after two straight years of not winning the trophy. Lastly, it allowed Clint Dempsey to win his first ever domestic trophy.
The second match, arguably the most important match in the Sounders ix year history, was the Supporters Shield clinching win on the last day of the season. The week before in Los Angeles, the Sounders climbed back from a 2-0 hole to give themselves a chance to win the trophy on their field with either a win or a tie. Things didn’t look well for the first 85 minutes of the match as the Galaxy controlled most of the possession.
Marco Pappa etched his name in Sounders history with his two goals in the final ten minutes of the match. First it was his goal in the 85th minute that gave them the lead. Then in the fifth minute of stoppage time, it was Pappa who put the final nail in the proverbial coffin on the Galaxy’s chances to win the Supporters Shield.
Oct 25, 2014; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Sounders FC midfielder Marco Pappa (10) celebrates after scoring a goal against the Los Angeles Galaxy during the second half at CenturyLink Field. Seattle defeated Los Angeles 2-0. Mandatory Credit: Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports
This is one of my favorite photos of the year. I just wanted to share it with you all.
I reached out to you, a Sounders supporter, to see what your best match of the 2014 MLS season would be. There were a lot of similar choices so I will only put a few off you on here but let’s take a look at what you had to say via Facebook:
"The 4-4 tie against PDX was the best match of the year. The hat trick from Clint Dempsey in Portland was a good way to shut Portland fans up with #HasDempseyScoredYet and we will never forget the announcer saying “You are looking at the Timber’s Army; you are heading the Emerald City Supporters. That match helped our confidence as went on to win 9 of the next 11 matches including a very cathartic 4-0 over RSL.–Michael Berta"
The Sounders-Portland match in early April was a great match. It finished third on my list for the best match of 2014. Also like Michael said, it shut up the Portland fans.
"Tie between Open Cup Final and SS clinching victory–Daniel Roe"
"I’d say the best match was at home beating Portland with that amazing sunset in the background–Edd George"
Jul 13, 2014; Seattle, WA, USA; Portland Timbers goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts (1) makes a save against the Seattle Sounders FC during the second half at CenturyLink Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
Not the best shot, but here is a photo of the sunset that Edd mentioned. I have seen several other shots of the sky that night and it was absolutely beautiful that night.
I was not able to make it to this game as I was out of town. I was in Oregon, go figure. I actually missed the two matches in five days between these two teams. The match earlier in the week was for a spot in the US Open Cup semi-finals. For those of you that don’t know, these two teams and fan bases don’t like each other very much.
I also took to Twitter as well. Michael Grey, a local sports radio host in Seattle, was gracious enough to answer my question and had this to say about his best match/moment of 2014.
I also reached out to Matt Pentz who is the beat writer for the Sounders and this is what Matt had to say to me via email:
"For best Sounders match of the year, I’m going with the U.S. Open Cup final in Philadelphia. It might have had less hype than the Supporters’ Shield stretch run/Western Conference playoffs and far less impressive TV viewership (thanks, GOL TV), but it was the best blend of high stakes and high-level play of any Seattle game from the time I took over the beat.Philly was fearless — and would have raised the Cup but for a few unlucky bounces in extra time. The PPL Park crowd really responded that, especially in the second half, the whole stadium rising as one for counterattacks and corner kicks in the final minutes. Seattle, of course, held its nerve and survived to win its fourth Open Cup 3-1 in extra time.And survive is the key word — both teams were exhausted but proud in the postgame, knowing they brought out each other’s best and rose to the occasion."
I wanted to think everybody that answered my question regarding this topic. If you have a match that was not listed, please feel free to mention it in the comment section.