If there’s one thing the powers that be here at Outside The Press Box can decide on, it’s a general disinterest in soccer.
Sure, I’ve covered a few MLS games, a couple of old-school Sounders matches, even some of the international friendlies that have blown through Seattle, but I must admit that soccer does nothing for me.
However, Sounders FC has taken our fair city by storm, although I still argue that half the people who are suddenly claiming to be die-hard soccer fans are just another batch of bandwagon jumpers getting on the hot thing in town.
Five years ago, these were the people at Safeco Field proclaiming their everlong allegiance to the Mariners, so I find it hard to believe there was all this pent-up soccer desire that couldn’t be released until we had a pro team.
So, I had to see for myself what the buzz was about.
Would this be the tipping point? Would I suddenly start caring about the MLS, the equivalent of maybe a Double-A baseball league over in Europe?
The answer is no.
Yes, the game was fun, the crowd was loud and you can’t beat six goals, but I don’t see myself rushing back to Qwest anytime soon, nor can I imagine any scenario in which I would voluntarily watch MLS on TV.
Much has been made about the Seattle crowd, and while 29,000 fans is impressive for the MLS, let’s face it, it’s not like we’ve turned into Liverpool or anything.
The guy sitting behind me was much more excited about getting a free haircut at Great Clips because the Sounders scored three goals. The guy sitting next to me was wearing a wacky outfit for the sole purpose of taking pictures with girls—yes, that guy, the one you would have seen at the Mariners beer garden a couple of years ago.
I think there is a good, solid core of Sounders fans who have deep knowledge of the game and can actually name other players in the MLS, and they should be given full props for helping to foster whatever home-field advantage Seattle may have. The rest of us yahoos are just here for the show.
As for the soccer, I think all parties involved would agree that it wasn’t their best night.
Kasey Keller, a great guy and a loquacious interview subject (did you know he grew up on an egg farm?), gave up two questionable goals down the stretch as Seattle blew a 3-1 advantage. Was it because the guys in front of him eased off the gas? United goalie Josh Wicks didn’t fare much better, allowing an atrocious goal that was kicked with the force of a 3-year-old’s foot.
The Sounders will rue this one, as they controlled the ball for most of the match, yet let DC United hang around by missing out on scoring opportunities and giving United’s strikers too much space to work with when they did have the ball.
On top of all that, more than 60 minutes of the game were not broadcast on ESPN2, as the four-letter network decided to stick with college baseball (college baseball!) over switching to the regularly scheduled MLS game, which should give everyone an idea of where soccer is in the pecking order of American taste.
But at least we got free haircuts!