Some people may doubt the fans of a team being able to influence a player’s choice on where they want to play. Well, Sounders fans pulled a little Hal Sutton action. You don’t know what that is? Well, Sutton has a very famous quote from his final hole of the 2000 Players Championship. On Saturday, June 8th, Seattle Sounders fans were the right club. They weren’t the putter that closed out the win, but they were the wedge that was knocked it stiff, 10 feet from the hole.
On that day the Sounders were playing their rival the Vancouver Whitecaps at Century Link Field. A crowd of 53,679 was in the stands that day and even more were in the bars around the stadium. During the game, as many people have heard, Clint Dempsey was walking around near the stadium. He saw the passion and atmosphere that only that only the fans of Seattle can create. Deuce saw something that he couldn’t in any other city in America. The bars were standing room only for a soccer game. A game in a football stadium that was almost filled to the brim, as well. He got to see what it was like from a fans perspective. He got to witness it from a players perspective, three days later, when United States Men’s National Team beat Panama on the same field. The attendance of that game was 40,847, which is seventh all time for a home FIFA World Cup Qualifier.
What player wouldn’t want to play in a stadium with that many fans? The Sounders are number one in MLS attendance with 40,520 per match. The second best team is the Los Angeles Galaxy at 21,764. That is a difference of 18,756, which is greater than 10 of the other 18 teams average attendance per game. You could double 15 of those 18 teams attendance and not reach what Seattle brings every game. Sure, dominating the U.S. in attendance doesn’t seem that hard, because soccer isn’t close to the top sport in this country. Well, Seattle would have ranked seventh and eighth the last two seasons in the English Premier league. More fans go to a Sounders match than go to Yankees games, in fact only three Major League Baseball teams out draw Seattle (Dodgers, Cardinals and Giants). NBA and NHL arenas would burst at the seams trying to hold Sounders’ fans.
On that day when Clint Dempsey was in town, Sounders fans you were the right club. You influenced one of the best soccer players in America to come to your city. Sure, Adrian Hanauer was the putter that dropped the putt to seal the victory, but it was you the fans that made that putt extremely easy. No one should ever doubt the power Seattle fans have with bringing players here.
Clint Dempsey. Deeeeeuuuuccce. How I heart you so.
How I’ve always loved you so as a player. As a preface to all this, you are the reason I began following the EPL. Sure there’s been McBride and Joe Max Moore before you, and of course our keepers (TIMMAY!!!), but you were the first my-generation field player I could watch regularly play at 7 AM on Saturday mornings as US coverage expanded. You always fascinated me with your perma-scowl yet irrefutable joy when you play. As Bruce Arena so famously said, you “just try sh*t.”
I even am a huge fan of your rap song. Seriously.
You are my ultimate sports man-crush. You should have seen the stupid grin on my face at the World Cup Qualifier here in Seattle when you were introduced and I witnessed you playing live. A very real argument can be made that you are on the same level as Landon Donovan as the best American field player.
And now you’re flying from Heathrow to the West Coast. Rumors are flying about Seattle wanting to bring you here and for the last few hours I’ve been guilty of joining in on soccer’s “silly season,” letting far-flung rumors allow me think, verbatim: No way is this real. Ohmygod this might be real. NO WAY CAN THIS BE HAPPENING. IT MIGHT BE HAPPENING.
Maybe this is the Chicago-sports fan in me that forces a level-head no matter how well things may be going…
In the words of Wesley Willis, the show this past week was a demon-hellride. Power outages in just the one block of downtown Everett rendered havoc on the Windows 2000 machines inside the KRKO studios. Batteries failed, computers didn’t want to reboot and large chunks of the show were lost.
However, under the steady leadership of Maury, and several false stops and starts – we were able to get something together for the masses that huddle together to hear AM radio on Saturday mornings.
In this weeks show, we were lucky to get Dave Clark from the popular SB Nation Blog “Sounder at Heart” to give us a season preview, discuss Montero moving on and what to expect from the boys in Rave Green this summer.
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I was laying in bed with my girlfriend last night and she said I needed to change things up. She said we were in a bit of a rut. We apparently have been doing the same thing a lot lately. Of course, I am not talking about the bedroom activities and “we” is Brad and myself. She thought we have been writing and talking about a lot of the same things lately. So, I looked around for something new. I went through all our old posts and this what I have found. There hasn’t been a lot of talk about the Sounders. We have been to and watched a lot of the games on TV, we just haven’t addressed their success very much. There have been a lot of distractions that have kind of taken away the coverage of the Sounders. We had a Felix perfect game, an arena deal going on for a few months and the beginning of the football season. The Sounders are quietly putting together another great season.
Since the Seattle Sounders made the jump from A-League to MLS it has been nothing but success. They won three consecutive U.S. Open Cups and missed out on a fourth consecutive on a controversial call in a shootout. Advancing deep in CONCACAF competitions is a standard, as well. MLS playoffs have been a bit of a problem. It’s not the making the playoffs that is the problem, it’s the winning in the playoffs. They haven’t been able to get out of the first round playoffs with losses to Houston, Los Angeles and Salt Lake. Is this the year they make the playoff push.
This year has been different. The Sounders have been an offensive threat all year boasting the leagues second best goal differential at plus 15. There is great balance between the offense and the defense. There isn’t a heavy reliance on goaltending like in years past. The Sounders know they can score with anyone. Mauro Rosales leads the MLS in assists. The addition of Eddie Johnson has paid off big time. He is fourth in the league in scoring with 13 goals in 23 games. The glue that keeps the whole team is probably Freddie Montero who is seventh in the MLS in goals and has added six assists on top of that.
The players have really started to come together as a unit after a bit of a rough patch earlier this season. The offensive explosion against Chivas USA a couple of weeks showed just how worried teams should be when facing the Sounders. The 6-2 victory featured a hat trick from Montero and goals from Brad Evans and Sammy Ochoa. There was even an own goal by Chivas defender Ante Jazic. Apparently, he even knows the Sounders are the team to play for and wanted in on the action. I fully expected him to rip his jersey and show a Seattle jersey underneath.
All things are going well for the Sounders at the right time. Everyone should expect a great playoff run from this squad. Jump on the bandwagon now, because when the playoffs come around there might not be any room left. They play their rival the Portland Timbers, Saturday at 12:30p. This will be a nationally televised game on NBC. It will be the first regular season MLS match on national television since June 29th, 2008. Even America knows this is the best team to watch. Watch the match and see what a great team the city of Seattle has.
This whole quarterback thing with the Seahawks keeps making me mad and I need to vent. I called it a “thing” because, quite frankly, I don’t know what Pete Carroll is thinking or what is going on. I would vent about the quarterback tinkering that Carroll is doing, but I am way to confused to do so. That’s why I am going to rant about other sports happenings that really make me mad. This steam needs to go somewhere.
Fans booing referees for false starts:
If Breno Giacomini jumps the snap and ends up two yards down field, the fans don’t start booing at that moment. Fans always wait until Mike Carey or Ed Hockuli inform them what they already knew, “False start number 68, that is a five yard penalty, reply second down.” This is where fans decide to lose it and boo. Why are you booing? We all know the penalty was on us. Save your boos for something that is a close call, like a pass interference. Have some credibility as a fan and you might be able to influence a call sometime.
First pitch strikes:
I will start by saying that I understand players are trying to get the pitch count up and its better to start ahead in the count, so you don’t swing at the first pitch. Still nothing makes me more mad in the game of baseball than I pitch “right down the dick” and the hitter doesn’t swing at it. You might be trying to get the pitch count up, but a better way to get to the bullpen is to score a bunch of runs. What better way to do that than to swat a BP fastball that’s right down the middle for a yacker. I don’t know what it is, but this makes me go crazy. It might just be the team I watch, the Mariners, who have produced the worst offense in the league the last few years. Watching them fall behind in counts and swinging at strike three down in the dirt is brutal. Just rip that first pitch, it was perfect.
Announcers saying a game is over when a team is winning late:
We have all seen comebacks. They are one of the best and one of the worst things in sports. You love them if you are a Bills fan, you hate them if you’re a Oilers fan. We have all been on both sides of the comeback. When my team is up by 4 runs in the ninth, 10 points in the fourth or 2 goals in with five mins left, I hate when the announcers says “this one is all over, baby” (Madden 64 touchdown celebration). Every time I hear that I want the other team to come back and make him look bad, unless my team is winning. Give me that win! No one wants the announcers to say their team is done. It’s already hard enough knowing your chances are slim. Next time I hear this, I am saving the recording and putting it on the computer and emailing the person who opened their mouth too early and jinxed a bunch of fan’s favorite team. The email will go something like this:
Please watch this video I have attached. You’re an idiot!
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Halftime concerts at regular season football games.
This is always a great concept, but never delivers. NFL halftime is only 12 minutes. The stage needs to be setup and taken down. This takes about 2-3 minutes on each end. By the time the performer gets up they have time for one song. What kind of concert has only one song? By the time I get the beer guy and grab my Coors Original, the concert is over. The simple fix to this is to have wiener dog races every game. Check out number six on the outside, that dog has wheels. The Coors guy can wait for me, wiener dog races are too intense to look away.
What are your sports rants? Let us know.
The other night I was at a CONCACAF Champions League game that featured Seattle Sounders FC versus San Francisco of Panama and saw some of the worst flopping I have ever seen in my life. This was leaps and bounds above anything Vlade Divac ever did. Some futbol enthusiast (aka everyone outside of America) might think there is an art to the flop, but most soccer enthusiast (aka everyone inside of America) thinks it is ridiculous.
I have rarely seen players any other sport go down like they have been shot. A simple bump will get a man to roll around for two minutes holding his ankle. I would see this at the game and I would try to look for a replay to see if he had in fact got his Steve Zakuani on. Nope! Just a light hip check, which some how resulted in a shattered tibia.
Next up, the stretcher.
A group of medical staff take a light jog over to the injured player. They get him on the stretcher and carry him off the field. The player is looked at and offered a simple solution to his devastating injury.
A quick squirt of this mist, out of an aerosol can, miraculously makes the injury go away. What I assumed, by the reaction of the “injured” player, was shattered tibia or torn ACL is completely healed.
The player takes a quick, in place high knees and is ready to enter the game. He let’s the assistant referee know he is good to go and enters back into the game. He is sprinting everywhere and has no indication that he was ever hurt.
This delaying of action on the field is a disgrace to sports. I don’t see what this accomplishes, minus the fact the player has a respect for the game he is playing.
So, to all you soccer players in the world, including myself from time to time, stop flopping. It is embarrassing for you and annoying for the people watching.
On national and local sports talk radio waves, I have heard a growing concern. It is a small, dull roar, but it goes something like this – what is going to happen if the NBA and NFL have work stoppages in the next year?
If this unspeakable of unspeakables is to happen, please read through this post. There are more than just a few sports here in the USA, and who knows, you might find something that you might end up loving. Whatever you find here, either way you will probably like more than the NBA regular season. Because for the most part, work stoppage or not, that will continue to be a waste of time.