There is a fine line between lively fan support and mean-spirited crap that doesn’t belong in a game. I’ll be the first to confess that it’s a moving target.
Like anyone else, I love it when impassioned supporters find their voice, lifting their team and elevating spirits around the ground in an atomic reaction, the primary elements careening in force and playing off one another.
To hear the Sounders fans bouncing back and forth with their “Seattle …. Sounders … Seattle … Sounders … ” bit is the bright stuff that makes our game wonderful. The best MLS fans can identify home grounds by ear, without seeing a single picture. D.C. United, Chicago and Houston are among the places that have their own, distinct primary chant. And they are magnificent.
But why do we sometimes need to go “there?”
This is about Herculez Gomez in Seattle last night. The cries of “Sounders Reject!” isn’t the worst this stuff ever gets. Far from it. And generally speaking, Seattle fans keep it classt.
So, why even go there?
It’s a little worse in my mind because of who Gomez is, a U.S. international, a man so proud to play for his homeland. He’s a guy Jurgen Klinsmann loves having around for the contagious effort poured into every training and match. He’s a guy that I’ve come to respect more and more for his grounded interaction with fans through social media and his wise take on national team matters.
On the one hand, I get it. For 90 minutes he’s the enemy. Again, this one falls into the gray “in between.” Still, it seems mean spirited rather than just “spirited.”
It’s far from the worst we might hear around MLS grounds, but it’s a good place to start a conversation.
By the way, this is the guy Seattle fans mocked last night:
Robbie Mustoe and Robbie Earle dissect Derby Day, where Man City set the Premier League single season all time consecutive winning streak against rivals Man United, Jurgen Klopp had a bad day at the office against the blue half of Merseyside and Arsenal stutter again away from home.
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A roundup of Sunday’s action in Spain and Italy’s top flights…
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Villareal 0-2 Barcelona
The visitors struggled to break down Villareal’s back line throughout the opening 45 minutes, but the Blaugrana were aided by Raba’s second-half dismissal on Sunday. From there, Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez helped Barca pick up its 12th win of the season and restore the club’s five-point lead over Valencia.
Messi’s goal — his 525th for the club — matched Gerd Muller’s Barca record on Sunday, while the finish was his 18th in all competitions this season.
Real Betis 0-1 Atletico Madrid
Saul Niguez scored his second goal of the La Liga season to help give Atletico an important road victory against Real Betis. Atleti now sits third in Spain’s top flight, but remains six points behind league leaders Barcelona.
Elsewhere in La Liga
Real Sociedad 0-2 Malaga
Levante 1-2 Athletic Bilbao
AC Milan 2-1 Bologna
Giacomo Bonaventura scored twice on Sunday to give AC Milan a victory at the San Siro. The midfielder opened the scoring inside the opening 10 minutes, before Simone Verdi’s finish in the 23rd minute leveled the match for Bologna. Bonaventura tabbed his second goal of the day in the 76th minute to give the Rossoneri a win and keep the team inside the top seven. Milan currently sits on 24 points through 16 matches.
Elsewhere in Serie A
Chievo Verona 0-0 Roma
Napoli 0-0 Fiorentina
SPAL 2-2 Hellas Verona
Udinese 2-0 Benevento
Sassuolo 2-1 Crotone
For only the second time this season, Dutch Eredivisie leaders PSV Eindhoven have lost a league match.
Ajax stormed back for a 3-0 victory over PSV on Sunday in Der Topper, the long-standing rivalry between the two Dutch powerhouses.
[ MORE: Three things we learned from the Manchester Derby ]
The victory moves Ajax up to third place on 32 points this season, while PSV remains atop the league table on 39 points.
David Neres, Lasse Schöne and Donny van de Beek each scored in a span of 11 minutes after the halftime break to five the hosts a comfortable result.
Neres broke the deadlock in the 61st minute when he stunned PSV with a long-distance volley that couldn’t be dealt with by goalkeeper Jeroen Zoet.
Schone then found the back of the net three minutes later, while Van de Beek capped off the outing with the dagger in the 72 minute.
Sunday’s win also gives Ajax a slim advantage over their rival in the all-time Eredivisie series, 54-24-53.
Prior to this weekend, only one team in NCAA men’s soccer history had won three or more titles in consecutive years. Now, you can add Stanford to that list.
The Cardinal knocked off the Indiana Hoosiers, 1-0, on Sunday afternoon at Talen Energy Stadium behind Sam Werner’s extra-time winner.
[ MORE: Kamara, Zimmerman amongst biggest MLS trade moves on Sunday ]
Werner, who also scored the second goal for the Cardinal in Friday night’s 2-0 victory against the Akron Zips, provided the finish in the second overtime after powering a shot over Hoosiers goalkeeper Trey Muse.
On the cold day in Chester, PA, both sides struggled to come up with chances on goal, with the Hoosiers managing just one shot on target in the match.
Prior to 2015, Stanford had never won a College Cup in school history, however, the Cardinal are now tied for sixth in NCAA history with their third championship.
The University of St. Louis has captured the most titles in men’s soccer, with 10, while Indiana’s eight championships rank second.