No, they did not beat the Dynamo yesterday in Houston. But they did have a winning season, just like the 2009 Seattle Mariners, and they’re only the 2nd MLS expansion team to make it to the playoffs in their first year (if the information I have received is correct – remember, I’m a baseball fan). So all in all, while not a huge winner yesterday (and man, that game was brutal), the 2009 MLS Sounders have managed a pretty impressive year.
I’ve only watched a handful of matches on TV, where I can see the opposition’s fanbase – but that is enough to know that other US MLS teams don’t have the following that the Seattle Sounders do. Every game I went to was easily either sold out or pretty close, with an attendance hovering around 36,000. Every home game. And that’s without the upper decks being opened, a move that could double attendance! That’s pretty impressive for a sport that doesn’t have a large following in the states, a sport that is generally looked down upon and not taken all that seriously because it’s not American football or baseball or even hockey. There were several members of the ECS that traveled down for this last hurrah, and while I’m sure that going to Texas and not coming home with a victory was not the optimal desired result, those in green and blue were by far and large a better fanbase than the Dynamo’s. Sitting down during a playoff game? Come on, Houston, you can do better than that. Other MLS teams wish they had the fanbase that the Sounders do.
I have to give some degree of credit to my newfound Sounders fanship, despite the fact that it’s not as hardcore as my baseball fandom is. Being involved in game attendance has given me a new appreciation for what it means to be a fan of a team – any team – and has completely changed the way that I look at the support of my own Mariners. I have learned what it means to be there and be vocal and cheer your guys on – and for that, I am ever indebted to the ECS, the Sounders organization , and of course my friends Trish and Dan, without whom I might never have gone to a game simply because I couldn’t afford the tickets.
I participated in game chat on Sounder at Heart, which has taken up new residence at SB Nation, the home of Lookout Landing, Field Gulls, and several other blogs for several other kinds of sports teams. With the new format, SAH has opened themselves up for discussion, live game threads, and other general Sounders-centric fun. Go and check it out. You can also follow them on Twitter.
Here’s to a great next year for my two favorite teams. Up the Sounders, and Go Mariners (as always).
Apologies if any of this sounds disjointed or awkward. I’m starting to feel a bit puny – might be coming down with something – but wanted to give some credit where some credit is due…