In my world, football, baseball, basketball, and all other non-ball- and ball-related sports fall under the umbrella of "sportsball." (Yes, I'm one of those assholes who revels in fans' irritated glares as they blabber on about Super Cups and National Bowls and the like.)
Despite this, I attended—and dare I say, followed—my fair share of Seattle Sounders FC games this year, watching the team go through growing pains, pull through painful-to-watch matches, and move on from their breakup with coach Sigi Schmid. Having actually made some effort to follow the team this year, watching the MLS Cup match at Pioneer Square's F.X. McRory's pub alongside a crowd of rabid soccer bros, was nothing short of an emotional roller coaster ride from hell.
The night didn't start well. For me:
Nvm nachos are here everything's fine
— Ana Sofia Knauf (@asknauf) December 11, 2016
For the Sounders, in sports terms: "The Sounders offense was miserable on Saturday. The vaunted duo of Nicolas Lodeiro and Jordan Morris were out of sync all night long," Spike Friedman wrote. "Long balls went skipping out of play, the last pass of the few stretches of buildup play the Sounders managed just never managed to connect."
My group of casual soccer fans, flanked by one Actual Sports Fan and a Foaming-at-the-Mouth Tech Bro, downed shots of expensive shitty whiskey between screaming at a projector screen.
If it weren't for Sounders goalie Stefan "Swiss Viking Jesus" Frei, I might have just walked out of the game entirely.
The game went 120 goddamned minutes without the Sounders making any real shots at the goal. But then the real nail-biting began when the game went on to be decided by FUCKING PENALTY KICKS. It was like the universe was trying to give all of Seattle and Toronto a collective heart attack.
This whole ordeal was nauseating and painful and infuriating. I wanted to cry out of frustration.
But in the sole riotously joyous moment of this game, Roman Torres, who had been working his frozen ass off all night, finally, finally scored the winning penalty kick, making the team MLS Cup Champions. Despite the evening of on-field floundering and bungling, Torres' winning goal felt like a goddamned triumph. The bar crowd at F.X. McRory's just about exploded.
There were tears:
And free bubbly:
And taking to the streets:
And in the end, even to this non-sportsball lover, the Sounders were: