I got comped a ticket by some friends for last night’s Sounders playoff game, and figured I could take them up on it. Turns out the Phillies lost last night’s game 2 anyway, but I’m not sure which is worse – a Phillies loss, or the fact that the Sounders took a draw, 0-0. I can’t even remember the last time I was at a Sounders win – it’s almost always a draw, or the other team beating us into the ground (those were the friendlies I’m referring to, specifically). Just my luck, I suppose.
In any event, since last night was likely my last Sounders game until next year (barring some other playoff miracle ticket that drops in my lap), I figured I’d better do it right. I could have gone to the Elysian for some Night Owl, but decided that Fuel and the ECS march was the way to go. I got what I’ve been referring to as my “super-secret” parking spot (mainly because it’s almost always open, and nobody else seems to think you can park there), and headed towards Fuel, past Jimmy’s on 1st, where a handful of Dynamo fans were standing outside smoking and hassling anyone who walked by in neon green. I had been listening to KJR on my way down (they broadcast live from the interior of Jimmy’s), and the Dynamo fans were already well under the bottle, singing so loud that the show hosts were barely audible.
I continued on and wound my way through rude ticket hawkers (no, buddy, I don’t want to date you, nor do I want to engage you in discussion, and no, that doesn’t make me a bitch), and other fans to get to Fuel, where the front doorman recognized me and didn’t ask for my ID. I grabbed a pint inside, and when I came back out, my friend Darren was there, trying to call me. He went in for a drink, and by the time he was back out again, Trish had shown up, so we claimed the back corner of the outdoor area for ourselves, and chatted with others while waiting for Darren’s wife, and my friend Angie.
Yours truly, just trying to stay warm:
Trish, making faces at the camera:
Everyone turned up, and not a moment too soon. We polished off our drinks, and headed out with everyone else to wait in Pioneer Square for the march. They had constructed a stage with blue and green lights, and we could vaguely hear speeches being made, but everything was difficult to hear over the crowd singing this: “Your football’s shite! All day and night! *clapclapclapclap* Deep in the heeaaarrrt of Texas!” Darren and I participated for a few refrains.
After the band departed, just like normal, we took off. It was dusk by then, and at that point in the day where it becomes slightly more difficult to see. We started walking in our group, singing the same songs as always, but then several guys walked through the crowd carrying lime green smoke bombs and flares. Some of the smoke was dropped on the ground, and the flares were held overhead. I ran outside of the group to get some video, because it looked fantastic:
I ran back into the crowd to Angie, who was a bit confused because she didn’t know where I’d gone, and we walked the rest of the way to the game.
Qwest had the Rave Green on the roof:
Our tickets were not in GA, but in 118, up against the back wall. We still had an awesome view of the field, almost moreso than the GA, because there was more of an angle on the game:
Chris Henderson did the Golden Scarf thing:
And yes, I did have to look him up; because we were sitting beneath an overhanging cement floor, all the sound around me was more amplified, and any sound coming from the announcing booth was completely muffled. Given the haircut, I figured he was either a soccer player or a hockey player – soccer it is. Also, apparently the technical director!
The ECS, waving their flags:
The North End:
After a more-rousing-than-normal version of the National Anthem, we were off, and there were flags and glitter, and much noise:
The match was fought well on both sides, I thought. The Dynamo were very aggressive (and I’m assuming well-supported by the 10 or so fans in orange I could see in the opposition’s corner), but our guys still managed to get a lot of shots in on them. Unfortunately, none of those actually made it into the net. There was a fight in the first 30 minutes of the game, after Dynamo goalkeeper Pat Onstad ran into our forward Freddy Montero. Both got yellow carded for it, which didn’t make a lot of sense, but like umpires, there’s not a lot of arguing to be done with referees. We took our lumps, and toward the end of the match, Freddie Ljungberg set himself up to score on Houston, but they thwarted it (I managed to get a photo of his kick, but it didn’t come out very well). I thought that was going to be our moment, but no. There were a lot more injuries than I realized when we were there – Nate Jaqua also took a cleat to the head, apparently, and a good amount of blood was spilled. Many men went down, but didn’t stay down for long, and the whole game was, as the article linked indicates, extremely fast-paced and physical.
Additionally, Darren came up with a new chant for Kasey Keller. Normally, the song goes “He’s big! He’s tall! He’s a motherfuckin’ wall! Kasey Kellerrrr! Kasey Kellerrrrr!” but Darren’s version is “He’s big! He’s bad! He looks like someone’s dad! Kasey Kellerrrr! Kasey Kellerrrr!” Yes, as a matter of fact, we do think we’re funny.
I understand that the draw is simply the nature of the game, and that time and rules allow for it; but a playoff is a playoff, and baseball has conditioned me to not believe in the tie. It was also a bit of a kicker to see them fight so hard and not get anywhere for their efforts. All in all, it was a good game and a fun night, I just wish the Sounders would have gotten a goal, so that their trip to Dynamo territory might be a little less imperative. But I was super glad I got to go, we had a great time. Up the Sounders!