Sounders FC Win Supporters’ Shield With Two Late Marco Pappa Goals


Sports leagues don’t change their schedules midway through the season in order to ensure dramatic finishes. MLS didn’t get to look at the standings and say “son of a gun, we’ve got to make sure the Seattle Sounders and Los Angeles Galaxy are playing each other in the last game of the regular season.” This just kind of… happened. Until the 85th minute, it looked like this dream matchup was going nowhere. Until… it went crazy.

Marco Pappa, who came off the bench in relief of Brad Evans in the 75th minute, scored the go-ahead goal with only five minutes remaining in the 90. He did this shortly after being the first Sounder to so much as record a shot on goal, which he did in the 76h minute. He added another goal deep into stoppage time in what turned out to be the last play of the match. Pappa did as much with his limited field time as anyone possibly could have asked. The result was the Supporters; Shield.

For the longest time it seemed nothing was going to come of this game. L.A. was taking all the shots, as Seattle simply couldn’t do anything with the few chances they were given. Forced to play almost exclusively down the sides, the Sounders were frequently shut down well before they could get into scoring position. Obafemi Martins and Clint Dempsey had to fight for opportunities, as L.A. played the dynamic duo just about as well as possible.

Yet it was Martins with the assist to Pappa that led directly to the first Supporters’ Shield in franchise history. With Martins the hero and Galaxy captain Robbie Keane not playing, this match could very well have swung the MVP balance in the favor of Seattle’s star forward. Heavily guarded all day, Martins finally broke free when his team needed it the most. Without his efforts today and all season, Seattle likely doesn’t so much as sniff the best record in the league.

Even after Pappa’s goal, Seattle had to overcome a couple late threats. Both times it was Alan Gordon, and both times he whiffed on would-be equalizers that would have been absolutely devastating. Pappa’s second goal, mind you, came after L.A. goalie Jaime Penedo chased him outside of the box. With the game tied, Penedo surely would not have been so aggressive. Sounders FC won, but they oh-so-nearly didn’t.

Next up come the playoffs, with Seattle set to occupy the top spot in the west. What they have is an opportunity to do something no team has ever done before: win the U.S. Open Cup, Supporters’ Shield, and MLS Cup. Sounders FC have never so much as played in the MLS Cup before. But go back and watch that Marco Pappa goal again, and try to tell yourself with a straight face that this team can’t win the Cup.

57,673 fans packed CenturyLink Field today to watch Seattle Sounders FC win a game that started out ugly, got physical, and ended in jubilation. America may still be lukewarm to soccer as a whole, but Seattle’s been known to be ahead of the curve on things like this. And now the Sounders are the top team in the land for the first time. Watch out, world. The Seattle Sounders are coming.