Seattle Sounders Win Best-of-Two Series, 1-1, against the Panamanians of San Francisco
My friend Parker told me yesterday afternoon that he had an extra ticket to the Seattle Sounders soccer game that evening and would I like to go? I did a quick mental check: Nothing planned. I looked outside: sunny and in the 70s. I thought about the sport: knew nothing. Why not?
Here's how much I don't know about soccer. I assumed it was still the regular season. But apparently the regular season is over and the Sounders won the championship. Or something. So what was this game? In this game, the Sounders, the best team in the MLS this season, played the best team from another league, a Panamanian team called San Francisco, whose colors, red and blue, happened to be the colors of the old Barcelonan futbol jersey (Rivaldo: 10) that I wore to the game. Oops. Almost everyone else in the stands was in Sounders/Xbox highlighter neon-green. Pity.
So: soccer. Two halves, 45 minutes each. But they count up. That was a surprise. In the second half they don't start over, either, but continue to 90. When that's over they sometimes (all the time?) add extra minutes for time lost due to injuries, set-ups, yadda yadda. I don't know who calculates the extra minutes. I don't know where those extra minutes are displayed in the stadium. But someone, somewhere, counts down. Or up.
No scoring for a while (this is soccer), but then the Sounders, who controlled the ball for most of the game and had many more shots on goal than Panama (San Francisco), head-butted one in for a 1-0 lead. And that's how it stayed until the 90 minutes were up. We won! Yayyyy! Sorry, what was that? Right, extra time. Then that ended, too. We won! Yayyyy! Sorry, what was that?
It still wasn't over. Apparently they'd already played one game in Panama, which ended 1-0 for Panama/SF, so now the series was tied 1-1, and the score was tied 1-1. They needed to break the tie to end the series.
“They play a best-of-two series?” I asked.
“Apparently,” Parker said.
“Huh,” I said.
So we settled back in. By which I mean we continued to stand, since everyone in our section stood throughout the game.
Thankfully the Sounders scored about halfway into the 15-minute overtime period to make it 2-0, Sounders, or 2-1 in the series. We won! Yayyyyy!
But they kept playing.
“They must finish out the 15-minute set,” Parker said.
“Right,” I said.
And they did. And we won. But they kept playing.
“Two 15-minute overtime sets,” Parker said to me.
“Right,” I said.
The Sounders were playing a more cautious game now, which led to more shots-on-goal for the Panamanians of San Francisco, but nothing got in. And the clock counted up to 30. Which was 120. And that was that, right? We won, yay? No, they kept playing.
“The time-add thing,” Parker said.
“Where are they counting up?” I asked. “I don't see it anywhere.” The clock in the stadium was frozen on 30. Which was 120.
“They do it on TV anyway,” Parker said, looking around.
So the game continued. Until it didn't. The ball was in the Sounders corner, controlled by the Sounders, and a Panama/SF striker made an effort for the ball, and then everyone relaxed and walked off the field. And the remaining fans cheered.
“That's it?” I said to Parker.
“That's it,” he said.
“We won?” I said.
“We won,” he said.
“1-0 in regular time? And 2-0 in overtime? And the best-of-two series 1-1?”
“Yep,” Parker said.
No wonder soccer is the most popular sport in the world.