24 July 2011

Thank you for the football lesson!

That's exactly what the coach of the Seattle Sounders Football Club should have said to the coach of Manchester United after the drubbing they gave us a few days ago. Holy crap.

But let me back up.

This was my first time in the new stadium and it was FUN! We were up on the 300 level and our seats were excellent. It's hard to imagine a bad seat in the house. And the view of downtown Seattle from the stadium? Fantastic.

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Here is the 'official game report' and read on if you want to see mine.

Shelley had the idea to go see a soccer match some time ago and then asked me if this one with MU would be a good choice. I was like, "Uh, yeah; it sure is!" Good thing she planned ahead as the game was sold out. Totally. 67,052 fans. Nice.

The Stadium
Just walking up to the stadium is an impressive sight. And if you pretend not to see all the American football signage and paraphernalia you can pretend this was built just for soccer.

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As we walked up the first set of stairs I got to peek over the railing and experience what people who pay three or four times what we did get to see.

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When we finally got to our seats here is what the stadium looked like.

The Fans
Then there are all the fans! From about one mile away you can see all the green. As you get closer to the stadium the sidewalks get pretty darn crowded and by the time you pass the train station you are in an ocean of humanity. A green ocean. A green ocean with lots of scarves.

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From here it was up, up and away to the 300 level. Where you enter a virtual foodcourt! Man was there a lot on offer here, most of what I saw (and could smell) people eating was garlic fries. Business was hopping at all the food and drink booths in spite of prices like these.

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Of course we encountered shirt-off-guy up here. He was buying another beer. Sorry, no picture.

We were treated to all kinds of chants.

And flag waving.

Then the game started.

The Game
To quote the official write-up, "For 45 minutes, David was equal to the task against Goliath." MU scored one goal in the first half - and it was beautiful - but that was it. within five minutes of the start of the second half the flood gates opened up and the final score was MU 7, SS 0. Class dismissed.

What struck me was the stark contrast between the two teams. Here are some of the things that MU did so well.

  • Pass to space
  • Anticipate
  • Made sure all shots on goal were actually ON GOAL

When the Sounders had the ball they would look around, find someone to pass the ball to (by which time all the MU Players knew where the ball was going) and then kick it to where he was standing. Not where he was moving to. Of course the ball was stolen half the time.

On defense it was like watching a middle school soccer match. All the Sounders ran to the ball and so when MU passed to open space and one of their players ran there he was totally alone. And he had the ball.

The energy was really amazing. I would go back in a heartbeat.

Here are all the pictures.

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