Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Let Them Eat Cake

As The Scoring Third’s resident soccer mom I felt a certain responsibility to report back with details about the cake I created for my son’s second birthday this past Saturday.  More to the point, I feel compelled to share my masterful creation with a wider audience and I am shameless when it comes to self promotion.... or bragging about my kids, but we’ll leave that for another day.

So here it is... the moment you’ve all been waiting for... my Baby-Boy-Turns-Two-on-the-Same-Day-as-the-Sounders-Season-Opener-Cake-Creation

Ta-DA! (and, yes, that is the foot from Monty Python’s Flying Circus)

I was actually ridiculously proud of my success in realizing the vision I had for this cake.  I’m not what would generally be considered a creative or artsy person but sometimes I do okay.  It was also a great way to get myself and my family into gear for game day.  

Sounders FC went up against Toronto FC on Saturday night at Century Link field in Seattle.  A home opener is always exciting but there were a couple of other factors adding to the intense vibe that night.  For one, it was St. Patrick’s Day.  My father-in-law and I took the ferry to the game- because in Seattle, we can do that- and the crowd of passengers gave vision to the phrase “sea of green.”  It was hard to tell the game bound from the pub bound largely because many probably had one foot in each category.  We passed many pubs and bars on our walk from the ferry dock to the stadium.  On a regular game night most of these would be busy with patrons decked in green... on this night the only difference was the tents that had been extended onto the sidewalk to contain the larger crowds.  

The progress of the CONCACAF Champions League tournament also played a role in adding to the significance of the matchup.  Last Wednesday the Sounders suffered a, shall we say, “substantial” defeat at the hands of Santos Laguna knocking them out of the CCL for the season.  On the very same Wednesday, Toronto secured their place in the tournament semi-finals by defeating the LA Galaxy.  I don’t think I need to explain why it was gratifying to watch the matchup between SFC and TFC end in our favor.

I’m not going to spend time recapping the game for you here.  If you’re already a Sounders fan, you know what a magnificent game it was.  Our boys played well and the score accurately reflected the action on the pitch.  If you’re not a Sounders fan and you’re interested in a match recap, I’m sure you will have no trouble finding one out there on the interweb. 

But there is one more thing I want write about before I sign off for today (a.k.a. my kids wake up from their naps) and that is my deep appreciation for scrappy players and their ability to create opportunities by being tenacious.  These aren’t always the beautiful plays or the textbook maneuvers.  But the game is rarely textbook.  To be successful you have to be adaptable, flexible and able to create success out of error or folly.  This is the essence of being scrappy. And in my opinion, every team needs (at least) one scrappy player.

Mike Fucito was this guy for me last season.  Fucito wasn’t always the shining *star* on the field but he was scrappy.  He was the guy that you could expect to see pulling up just before running into the keeper as he scooped a ball into his arms and out of play.  He was the guy who scored goals or created opportunities by following a ball into the keepers box.  He was a rebound chaser.   Unfortunately, he was somewhat alone in his willingness to do so.  So when the news that Fucito would be leaving Seattle for Montreal this season, I was sorry to see him go.

But, I have new hope!  It’s early.  And I’m a fan, not an expert.  But I see reason to hope that David Estrada may be my new favorite scrappy player.  It’s no surprise that, after his thrilling hat trick, Estrada has received a great deal of (well deserved) attention this week.  He has been voted MLS Player of the Week and deservedly so.  It’s too early to tell but I will be interested to see how Estrada- who, by the way, my cronies and I have taken to calling “Ponch”- progresses and grows this season.  I hope that his ability to create plays by being tenacious and putting himself in good position continues to pay off for him and the team.  I’m looking forward to seeing more. 

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