As First Kick, presented by Dick's Sporting Goods approaches, MLSsoccer.com is marking each passing day with a different statistic, observation or talking point, setting the stage for the beginning of the 2012 MLS campaign.
4 – Seasons in MLS for the Seattle Sounders
OK, Seattle. You asked for it, you got it.
You wanted the giant crowds, you got them. You wanted the hardy fans who stand in the rain, the cheers that echo off the walls of CenturyLink Field, you got those, too.
You wanted the ultra-hip ownership group, which includes perhaps the coolest club president in the league. You wanted a friendly face for the front office, and you got a game show host who flies in from Los Angeles for your home games.
WATCH: Seattle Sounders 2011 Goals
You wanted a good coach to get you off the ground? You got a guy who’s Thomas Jefferson on the Mount Rushmore of MLS coaches, and he looks good in a scarf.
You wanted a veteran to help you get started, and you got a local guy who just so happens to also be the best goalkeeper in American history. You wanted a forward? You got the best young striker in the league, and a guy who’s the figurehead of a Colombian revolution that’s changed the face of MLS.
How about a guy with some grit? You got a bulldog who had the guts to defect from Cuba and find his way to Seattle, only to become perhaps the best holding midfielder in the league.
You wanted a speedy winger, and you got a kid from England that American fans would trade their own citizenship for to see in the Red, White and Blue. And when he went down to injury, you got the best newcomer in the league last season, and maybe the most influential player on any team in MLS.
Oh, you wanted a Designated Player? How does three sound?
You wanted an announcer? You got a guy who’s set up quite nicely in New York City now, about to lead the new soccer coverage for a tiny little network you may have heard of. It’s pronounced NBC.
How about controversy? You got it. You traded away two fan favorites for a World Cup veteran who says he can reboot his career and score 20 goals this season in Rave Green.
And rivalries, well, you got that down cold. You got two expansion teams from your own back yard to pound on last year, and you welcomed them to the league like pesky little brothers. You wanted the Cascadia Cup? By all means, take it.
The CONCACAF Champions League? Look at the calendar. You got Santos Laguna, in your house. Then have fun at theirs.
You got it all, Seattle. But now, you got problems. This is your fourth year in the league, and you got expectations. Sure, the US Open Cup is great, but where will you be in November? Watching LA win in your stadium again? Wishing you could claw out just one more goal against Real Salt Lake?
You wanted the pressure, you got it. It’s time to deliver this season in Seattle.
So what you got now?