Weekend Ironing Rituals & The Galaxy’s Visit to the Birthplace of US Soccer Fandom

There’s nothing more perplexing when assembling a work outfit, than the infinitesimally small difference between Dark Navy and Black.  Rarely a week goes by that I don’t find myself holding a pair of darkly-coloured trousers against various black or blue items in a bid to yet again answer this question.

More often than I’d like, I later find myself attending a video conference, gazing upon my pudgy on-screen form, fluorescent lighting revealing once and for all that I have in fact coupled my azure blue, navy-patterned button-down with jet-black pants.  First World Problem indeed.

There was a point in time when I’d have been unlikely to notice this and even less likely to have cared.  There was a time when I sincerely believed that socks were like underpants; they were underwear so it didn’t matter if they had no visible relationship to the rest of my apparel.

It wasn’t until I met the wonderful woman to whom I’m joined in holy matrimony, that the concept of proper colour-matching was introduced to me.  She taught me well.

There’s even a photo of me with my first car, that pains me because of this.

Incidentally, this vehicle – affectionately named “Molly Metro” by my mother, despite my desperate protests – would leave my ownership within 18 months, due to the bottom being rusted beyond repair.  I’m sure the car dealer who sold me the white Austin Metro simply overlooked this fact and didn’t cash in on my naivete.  I mean, he did arrive with a screeching of tyres a mere ten minutes after being informed by phone that we’d like to purchase the vehicle and did almost-too-clearly write the words “SOLD AS SEEN” with two stars and seven underlines on the deposit receipt, but I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt.

This memory is not what bothers me though.  It isn’t even the fact that I’m decked out entirely in blue denim (shirt and jeans) with no belt.  It’s the horrific realization that I’ve finished off this ensemble with light brown shoes!!  Oh the humanity.

How does this tie in with LA Galaxy’s visit to the Emerald City, to play the Seattle Sounders (and perhaps ask the Wizard of Oz to give Steven Gerrard some stamina)?

Well, there are fewer perpetual fashion faux-pas’ than the Sounders’ rave green uniforms and it also ties in nicely with my weekend ritual of ironing my work clothes for the coming week while watching soccer.

As my iron glided across fabric in a way a ball will never do on the carpeted concrete that poses as turf at Seattle’s venue, I observed my Los Angeles Galaxy following their current MO to the letter.

Once again we walk away with a result that one might argue flattered the performance.  This is something of a double-edged sword that may wind up cutting us deeper than a pair of Scholl Sandals into Anna Wintour’s soul.

On one hand, it is said to be the hallmark of Champions to grind out results even when they aren’t playing well.  On the other, there’s no other objective way to describe the 1-1 scoreline as snatching a tie.

Don’t get me wrong: while luck played its part on Sunday afternoon, there are other factors at work here.

The Galaxy has been single-mindedly stubborn in defence this season.  So it was in this game.  Such is our dogged determination that even when the defence was split and the cause seemed lost, Steres would emerge from nowhere.  Twice, Jelle Van Damme made goal-line clearances, at least one of which he had no business even being close to.

An especially pleasant moment was JVD reacting to Clint Dempsey’s Rocastle 360 (Or Johann Cruyff turn if you aren’t FIFA 2000) by physically-but-fairly extracting the ball from Deuce’s toe and sending him to the turf… or brillo… or whatever that field is made out of.

It was as if the Whole F’n Show (I’m determined to make that stick) was saying what we all think whenever Number Two tries a step over or other flashy move in MLS: “No. You’re Clint Dempsey. Stop it.”

Dempsey of course, remonstrated with hand gestures that he ought to be given a penalty.  He also had a similarly sneaky moment when he rather impressively managed to hack Nigel De Jong, while making it look like he was the one being fouled.  Had the ref not been two yards from the incident, it may not have backfired.

Up front, we were once again ruthlessly efficient, with our paltry three shots on target amounting to a goal and a last-ditch clearance of Seattle’s own.

Luck though was also crucial.  The Galaxy equalizer came via calamitous miscommunication between Chad Marshall and Stefan Frei.  Tyrone Mears failed to track Sebastian Lletget, who was able to capitialise on the error.

This stunning turn of events served to silence the Emerald City Supporters, rendering their earlier chants of “Can you hear the Galaxy sing?” rather ironic.

Our Rave Green Starbuckians had maintained pressure all night and had finally taken the lead after Christian Roldan’s 20 yard effort caught out a screened Brian Rowe, early in the second half.

A rare moment in a quiet night for Keane, almost saw him chip in for a stolen victory, but for the aforementioned clearance.

Then, with virtually the last kick of the game, Jordan Morris endured a nightmare, as his back-post slide somehow resulted in the ball flying over the bar from six yards.

So once again, the Galaxy escape and take their unbeaten streak to seven games (9 in all competitions).

As I said before, this may be the hallmark of Champs but I’m a little nervous that it’s also the hallmark of jammy buggers supplementing stubborn resolve by riding a wave of good fortune.  If we don’t start controlling games, I have serious concerns that we’ll soon be found out and an ugly result is around the corner.

As we discovered last season, the team cannot afford to be complacent in a tight Western Conference.

I also have concerns that Steven Gerrard is well past his best now and that we’re putting too much effort into finding line-ups that accommodate him, while keeping Giovani Dos Santos on the field in positions that don’t suit him.

Stevie G is good for moments and shows flashes of his old self when deployed as a second half sub but he also spends a lot of time wandering around off the ball after becoming gassed, when started.  In my opinion, this is one of the biggest factors in clubs being able to put pressure on us.

The run is good and the determination of the players is there for all to see.  However, we can’t keep relying on making good on sporadic scoring chances and last ditch defensive efforts to get results.

As a side-note on Seattle, the best player on the field was the debuting Designated Player, Nicolas Lodeiro.  He slid into this team like he’d been there for years and tortured the Galaxy all night with his intelligence, ball control, passing and vision.

It’s worth noting that this guy is a 27 year old Uruguay international, who has played in recent World Cups and Copa Americas and came directly from playing in the Copa Libertadores semi-finals for Boca Juniors.

Given that certain MLS detractors were praising the Chinese Super League’s Jiangsu Suning for signing 26 year-old Brazilian Alex Teixeira, a decent player who nonetheless has never been capped by his country, I find the lack of praise for Loderio’s signing is conspicuous by its absence…

Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go and write “navy” on the inside waistband of these trousers.


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