On Seattle Sports: Mariners and Lackey rumors, and the end of the 2009 Sounders FC

Mariners pursuing John Lackey? Rumors circulate that the Seattle Mariners are in the hunt for Angels free-agent pitcher John Lackey.

This rumor comes with a clear caveat: The cost to land Lackey will be astronomical, likely requiring a long term deal well over $80 million, way out of the range of a Mariners team that’s trying to trim their bloated payroll (thanks, Bill Bavasi!) and needs to upgrade multiple facets of the squad while finding the cash to extend ace pitcher Felix Hernandez, who is due for free agency in a couple of seasons and remains the subject of trade rumors.

The Lackey rumor, meanwhile, is likely little more than the first of a series of blasts of hot air in the offseason’s Hot Stove League of personnel rumors.

The Dynamo Elimination: Sounders season ends in Houston… The Seattle Sounders’ inaugural season came to a rough and disappointing end yesterday in Houston, TX, falling 1-0 in overtime of the 2nd leg of their playoff series with Houston Dynamo.

Just like their previous meetings, Dynamo’s airtight defense sealed off the Sounders’ passing lanes all match long, preventing Sounders FC from the free-flowing possessions and clear shots on goal they had been accustomed to generating en route to a 12-7-11 record and playoff spot.

As regulation drew to a close, it became clear that the Sounders’ best hope was to finish the 30 minute overtime period with a 0-0 tie (as they had in the 1st leg at Qwest Field) and to try and win the game in the crapshoot-like penalty kick shootout.

But fate intervened: A dubious foul call early in the overtime period against the Sounders on what looked like a clean steal of the ball not far from their own goal gave Houston the ball within striking distance of the goal. Dynamo worked the ball into the penalty box before Brian Ching hammered a drive past a frozen Kasey Keller for the kill-shot goal.

The Sounders futilely turned on the aggression to try and rally, but a vicious slide tackle by James Riley earned him a red-card ejection and nailed the coffin shut on the Sounders’ postseason.

The Sounders exceeded expectations in their first season with an exciting free-flowing brand of soccer that contrasted the plodding continental defensive style that is the mind-numbing norm in Major League Soccer. It’s a shame their season had to end with a whimper instead of a bang, against arguably the best offense-killing trap-and-tackle defense in MLS.

Let’s hope MLS, which enjoyed how Sounders FC engineered a sizable, excited new fanbase in Seattle, takes a good look at their officiating and rules this offseason to encourage more of the Sounders’ style of soccer and less of the plodding trap-and-tackle insomnia curing soccer that has held MLS (and its revenue streams) back during this past decade.

1 Comment so far

  1. glover (unregistered) on December 8th, 2009 @ 9:15 am

    i want to be part of your team

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