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.