By Troy Zielonka
The opening game of the MLS season had finally arrived in the most unlikely of cities, Seattle. Seattle didn’t even have a widely recognized soccer team until this year, and oddly enough it came just shortly after the loss of another beloved team.
The Sounders' game sold out with ease, season ticket holders came in droves, and everyone seemed to embrace our newly discovered team. I wondered whether or not people were just trying to fill the void of losing the Sonics, or if Seattle was truly ready to become a soccer city.
Even before reaching the stadium, I knew it was the latter.
Living only a mere 20 miles away, I figured I’d set off early to the stadium with my girlfriend in tow roughly two hours before kick off. It turned out that we arrived at the stadium just barely in time, and were greeted with the massive cheers of a completely full house. From this moment forward, I knew Seattle would embrace this sport.
There was a constant hum of excitement from the stands, and nearly every single attendee brandished a green and blue scarf, or some other Sounders-clad memorabilia.
Long time Sounders fans and soccer enthusiasts jeered for their favorite players or protested fancy dives from opposing players. At the same time, those who knew less of the game and players still cheered at close calls, and bellowed chants when the Sounders scored their three tremendous goals.
It was not difficult to distinguish the two different types of fans
due to their behavior, but their enthusiasm was nearly identical as
the seats around me erupted as the Sounders took a 2-0 lead.
Even with the upper deck devoid of people, the roar of the audience was deafening, as loud as any American football game at this very stadium with twice the amount of people. Everyone in the entire lower bowl never once took their seat, and the bursts of confetti showered down upon all of us upon every brilliant goal.
The setting could not have been better, and I am excited to see Seattle embrace the Sounders.
As we walked away from the stadium, which was still buzzing with
excitement, I wondered if the United States will ever embrace this
sport with as much enthusiasm as other countries have. I came to the conclusion that while the United States may not fully embrace soccer, I know that the city of Seattle already has.
Troy Zielonka, Goal.com