Seattle Sounders FC - Third Time a Charm?

Richard Terry
Feb 23rd 2011

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I will start out this blog by stating that my amazing twin sister, Heather, and my awesome Brother-in-law, Mark Seymour, are season ticket holders at Qwest Field for the Seattle Sounders. Funny thing is that Mark is originally from Portland but his passion lies with Seattle Sounders FC. My twin sister hails from Colorado (as obviously I do) and she does have a place in her heart for the Colorado Rapids, but her allegiance is primarily with the emerald city club. With that being said, we always have a great time talking trash via text messages during the Rapids/Sounders clashes. Its all in good fun and I can say with a big smile on my face that Mark and Heather proudly rooted for the Colorado Rapids in the 2010 MLS Cup Championship! Cheers!

For many, Seattle Sounders FC are the polished gemstone of MLS; a club that boasts silverware within its first two seasons in the league, sold-out crowds of around 35,000 fans per game, and arguably one of the best supporter atmospheres during home matches. Seattle fans travel well for their club, as many Sounders away matches showcase sections of fans wearing the rave green. In addition to their two US Open Cup titles, the Sounders have also managed to secure MLS Cup playoff qualification in their two years of existence as well. However, they have been knocked out of the playoffs in the first round both times, more recently to LA Galaxy in 2010.

Seattle coach Sigi Schmid took over after leading Columbus Crew to the 2008 MLS Cup title. However, he has been unsuccessful in getting back to the leagues marquee game with the biggest club from the pacific northwest. It is not to say that Seattle is without outstanding talent. Despite having a strong expansion draft in 2009, Seattle still has quality players and big signings of internationals that include Uruguayan lvaro Fernndez, Swedish Erik Friberg, former United States international goalkeeper Kasey Keller, Swiss star Blaise Nkufo, and Colombian sensation Fredy Montero. Seattle made the world headlines when Freddie Ljungberg signed and played with the club from 2009-2010. However, the former Arsenal star was shipped to Chicago Fire and currently plays for Celtic FC in the Scottish Premier League.

Seattle also possess some ridiculous young talent (besides Fredy Montero) in terms of former University of Akron standout and Zaire native Steve Zakuani, Jamaican youngster OBrian White, Colombian Jhon Kennedy Hurtado and Cuban Osvaldo Alonso. The Seattle fans will once again have massive expectations for the club in 2011, especially with the fact that Portland Timbers and Vancouver Whitecaps have joined MLS for the 2011 season. All three of these teams have histories that date back to the NASL days and all boast amazing supporter groups. MLS needs more rivalries like this, and in 2012, the league will see another Canadian club in Montreal Impact (French: Impact de Montral). The northwest derbies will definitely feature mouth-watering matchups for the major sports networks and once again, Seattle Sounders FC and their supporters will be on display for the nation to behold.

Seattle may boast one of the largest ultra scenes in the league and the organization of the ECS (Emerald City Supporters) is fantastic. One may ask how the city has embraced soccer so well and the support is nearly unprecedented in the United States. I do not know the exact answer to this, but here are a few ideas: The city saw its NBA franchise Seattle Sonics move to Oklahoma City in 2008 and Seattle does not have an NHL Hockey team. This leaves two major US Sports teams with the NFL Seattle Seahawks and MLB Seattle Mariners. It is only fitting that the former USL Seattle Sounders would have legions of fans when the club moved into Qwest Field for their inaugural season in 2009.

As a Rapids supporter, I do not like the fact of everyone talking up the Seattle Sounders as potential pre-season favorites for the MLS Cup, but I am just as excited as everyone else to see the large Seattle crowds and the passion that the pacific northwest in general will bring to the league in 2011. Fans of every MLS team (besides perhaps Toronto FC) would LOVE to see fans within their own stadium be as passionate as the fans in Seattle. How do I think Seattle will do in year three? Well, I believe Seattle will make the playoffs again but they still have a few more years to go before they establish themselves among the leagues elite clubs.


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