History is usually painted with broad strokes. The details fade over time, leaving the hows of victory easily forgotten while the whos earn a prominent place in our memories.
In the here and now, I'll admit the Seattle Sounders' elimination of Tigres UANL in the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals feels a little tainted. Tigres opted to leave their regular starters at home, asking a squad of reserves, rarely used veterans and still wet-behind-the-ears youngsters to protect a 1-0 lead on the road and in the rain.
The deck continued to be stacked against Tigres even after they pushed their aggregate-goal lead to 2-0, as they were forced to play the entire second half a man down after Manuel Viniegra picked up a mindless second yellow card for time-wasting.
But will anyone really remember all that in a few months, let alone in a few years? My guess is no.
People might recall Djimi Traore's stunning half-volley from 30 yards out. Maybe they'll remember how the Sounders erased a two-goal deficit. Perhaps a few people will even talk about Eddie Johnson's winner from an impossibly sharp angle. More than anything, though, this will go down in history as the first time an MLS team ousted a Mexican opponent from the CCL quarterfinals.
How important that really is a matter that will be decided in the coming days, months and years.
MLS teams finally broke their road losing streak a couple years ago when FC Dallas and the Sounders won games in Mexico. This summer the United States national team finally won on Mexican soil. Seattle's comeback on Tuesday is another one of those benchmarks.
The significance of these feats is only as great as the ability to repeat them. If a MLS team manages to win CCL this year, while beating Mexican opponents along the way, that would be an indication that the gap between the two leagues is shrinking. But only the most naive of us can say that the gap is anywhere close to gone. That's going to take time and a lot of more victories in far less ideal situations.
But for now, American soccer fans can take some pride in acknowledging what the Sounders have done. The Sounders have shown that MLS team are capable of winning important games against Mexican opponents. That's something we have never really been able to say. Now, MLS has to show it wasn't a fluke of fortuitous circumstance. Dynamo, you're on the clock.