During my six months studying abroad in Europe, I took in quite a few soccer matches. I watched many different matches, from exhibition and league matches to Champions League and Euro’s. After returning to the USA, I found myself in Seattle, which happened to be the site of the Chelsea vs Seattle Sounders FC football match. I knew I had to make the trip to CenturyLink Field and watch the match.
After ten minutes, it looked like Chelsea was going to pull away. They were already up 2-0 and were dominating possession. Seattle, the third best team in the Western Conference so far this season, fought back unlike exhibition matches in prior years. Freddy Montero netted twice, his first just three minutes after new Blues transfer Eden Hazard put them up 2-0. After a poor pass from Josh McEachran, Montero was left wide open against Chelsea goalie Henrique Hilario and calmly netted the ball.
This may not have been the A team from Chelsea, but signs are still encouraging for Major League Soccer. With over 53,000 screaming supporters, Seattle made a game out of it late in the first half and easily could have had more. The Sounders dominated possession for stretches at a time and had multiple scoring opportunities, only to be denied by a great save or their poor touch around the net.
But then, we saw why Major League Soccer is not the English Premier League.
After tying the score at 2-2 in the 32nd minute, Seattle allowed two quick goals just before halftime. Though Seattle dominated stretches, they did not take advantage of their opportunities like Chelsea did.
Flow, creativity, cohesiveness, and on-ball skill were easily in favor of the European side. Too many times I saw Seattle players standing around when they had the ball, unlike Chelsea players who were always moving and creating new, better angles for passes. Though Seattle players made some nice moves, the highlights of the night came from Blues players. Up, over, around, and through, the Blues players displayed why American football still has a long ways to go.
Major League Soccer is becoming a destination for some players, though the exposure and skill level is not that of their European counterparts. Slowly but surely, the beautiful game in America is growing.