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Seattle’s Affinity for The Other Football leaves a Fan Futilely Searching for Regular Season’s final Matches…

November 13th, 2014 · No Comments

It’s hard to believe it’s that time again, Y’all know, Playoffs Baby! Uhm? Not sure what I’m talking ’bout here, after all the NBA’s just begun its Pre-season. While the defending Stanley Cup champions lost their season opener after raising their second Stanly Cup champions banner at the Staples Center, where the Los Angeles Kings were thoroughly routed 4-0 by their cross-town rival San Jose Sharks. Yuhs know, the very same team that let them escape elimination in last year’s playoffs after leading the series three games to none…

And that relentless 986lb Gorilla known as the National Football League was only in week six of its regular season when I began scribblin’ this, so just what playoffs am I talking about, eh?

Well, once again, I had the good fortune of attending a Sounders FC Football game vs. Northern (Highway) I-5 corridor rival’s Vancouver Whitecaps with Randal, thy “Moniker King” of my ‘lil racing blog No Fenders.

As Randy’s not only kind enough to take me to a game each season, but gives me the pick ‘O thee litter! As Randy’s got as he’d say: BITCHIN’ SEATS! Being just 15-rows up from the pitch and about five yards shy of the midfield circle…

Having chosen the October 10th Vancouver Whitecaps v Sounders FC match for sentimental reasons ‘Wayback in March, then eagerly awaiting the 40th Anniversary of professional soccer in Seattle, after this summer’s euphoria of the world cup, not to mention a world cup qualifier with the USMNT squad that features three current Sounders, including US Men’s National Team Captain Clint Dempsey, Brad Evans and DeAndre Yedlin being played at our very own ‘Der Clink! (Century Link Field) I’d simply lost track of the MLS season and was chagrined when Randy told me we were attending the third-to-last game of the regular season; Huh?

And why does every time I think of the Whitecaps immediately make me think of beleaguered NBA Star Steve Nash, who after all is a minority co-owner of the team along with the overly secretive majority owner Greg Kerfoot, and the franchises other two minority co-owner’s Steve Lucho and Jeff Mallett.

Whitecaps Invisible Owner casts large Shadow

As I’ve previously scribbled about Steve Lucho for No Fenders, who once upon a time owned an IndyCar team, while C’mon Steve, it’s obviously time to retire if Yuhs tweak your back simply picking up luggage, right? But I digress…

Dragonslayers

As the Rave Greens’ minority co-owner Drew “the Price is Right” Carey wryly noted upon Vancouver’s and arch nemesis Portland Timbers inclusion into the Major League Soccer fold when their respective franchises came online in 2011, these three Pacific Northwest rivals truly form “Thee Triangle ‘O Death!” Which in another nod to this triumbrant’s Pacific Northwest links, all contest the Cascadia Cup.

But I’m getting ahead of myself here, as I still fondly recall going to Seattle Sounders games at the venerable Memorial Stadium at the Seattle Center back in the mid-1970’s when I was just a ‘Wee lad, as Pop’s had season tickets and I’ve still got seven Sounders buttons tacked to my Bulletin Board forty-years later!

As Seattle and the rival Vancouver Whitecaps were part of expansion fever which gripped the North American Soccer League (NASL) in 1974, as this was the first true professional soccer league Stateside, lasting from 1968 to 1983.

with Seattle and Vancouver’s inclusion in 1974, which was followed by the Portland Timbers in 1975, the three teams battled mightily amongst each other for not only Pacific Northwest superiority, but league-wise overall.

And although I no longer can personally recall Sounders Captain Jimmy Gabriel, three names still dance about in my head, most notably Dave Gillett, along with Pepe Fernandez and Tony Chursky. While Mike England’s name just popped up upon thy radar screen…

Messer Gillett, who was my all-time favourite Sounders player, sporting the No. 17 on defense, sadly saw his NASL career capped by a gruesome leg breakage at season’s beginning in 1978. Whilst What I remember most ’bout Fernandez was his wicked broken leg which occurred in the Sounders home debut, effectively ending his NASL career. And Chursky was our star goalie, albeit from 1976-78, having NO idea he was from Up North Eh! As in Oh ‘KanaDuh! Having replaced original goalkeeper Barry Watling, an Englishman on loan I don’t remember at all…

The original NASL Sounders debutant Head Coach was John Best, a five-time 1st team All Star Defender who played for a variety of teams, including both the Philadelphia Ukrainians and Spartans, the Cleveland Stokers, the Californian Jaguars and Dallas Tornado before retiring to become Seattle’s coach where he compiled a 43-26 record before departing to become rival Whitecaps General Manager.

As Best former team went onto contest the NASL championship known as Soccer Bowl ‘77, when the game was at its fever pitch for Mwah, when those dreaded New York Cosmos with two of the league’s biggest names on their roster: Pele and Franz Beckenbauer unfortunately defeated Seattle 2-1at Portland’s Civic Stadium, in what was to be Pele’s final game.

Yet Mr. Best had run off to KanaDuh’ to become the Vancouver Whitecaps GM, ultimately guiding the squad to its lone NASL championship victory, when the team won the ‘79 title with a 2-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Rowdies.

Then Best was recruited by the Sounders then new management to return to Seattle as its General Manager in 1982, and help guide the team to its second and final NASL Soccer Bowl (1982) which once again ended in defeat, ironically to those pesky Cosmos, this time a One-Nil’ (1-0) loss at San Diego Stadium, before the league folded after the end of the 1983 season.

As Y’all may be wonderin’ why all the reminiscing, eh? As sadly, five days prior to the 40th Anniversary match between Seattle and Vancouver, John Best died at the age of 74 while on Holiday in Ireland, as he should have been at Century Link Field instead…

John Best, charismatic Pied Piper of original Sounders dies at 74

Thus it seems a long, long time ago since last attending a Sounders FC game, in fact so long ago, that I cannot remember who their opponent was? Although vaguely remember going, when donning jeans and windbreaker for the summer evening’s match, whilst having tried to describe the euphoria of attending my initial Sounders FC game ‘Wayback in ‘Twenty-oh-Nine in;

El Soundero!

While my All-time favourite game attended (to-date) courtesy of Randy, was the 2011 U.S. Open Cup played at Century Link Field, where not only were the Rave Green victorious, but it would be Seattle’s third consecutive Open Cup win, and was Oh, So special getting to witness the Sounders FC players reveling in the moment of their achievement by each hoisting the Lamar Hunt trophy high aloft from center stage, aka ‘Der Clink’s midfield pitch!

Sounders FC make Open Cup History

Which somehow, all of this revelry brings us forward to this year’s Sounders FC vs. Whitecaps game, which although visions ‘O grandeur; Err 67,000 raucous Rave Green fans had been predicted, the night’s attendance was only 55,765 instead! As Seattle has once again won the record for most attendance during the regular season with an average of just a “smidgeon” below 44,000, as Century Link Field’s upper deck was opened for the Vancouver game.

Ironically, as I listened on radio, albeit over the ferocious din of Seattle’s fan base screaming SEATTLE SOUNDERS! unfortunately team Play-by-Play broadcaster Ross Fletcher eerily pointed out how Seattle’s midfielder Brad Evans was having to use his experience ‘N guile to attempt countering the prodigious speed of Vancouver’s Kekuta Manneh, who unfortunately bolted past the slower Evans en route to scoring the nights only goal, even more deflating yet, having come in the game’s final minute of first half play. As the defeat would ensure Vancouver winning the Cascadia Cup for a second year in-a-row.

Making matters worse, was the Monstrous six-foot-five Center Back (defender) Kendall Waston, as KIRO’s Ross Fletcher joked how the 26yr old Costa Rican Footballer was everywhere, and was stopping the Sounders single-handedly, as the One-Nil’ (1-0) loss was Seattle’s first home defeat since July!

Thus, with two regular season games remaining, the scheduling “Gawds” shone down upon Major League Soccer, as the coveted Supporter’s Shield, awarded to the league’s team with the best overall record would be decided in a two game “round-robin” affair between Seattle and the dastardly LA Galaxy.

As fortunately, albeit soon-to-be TottenhamHot Spurs FC international player, and current Sounders FC defender De Andra Yedlin returned from National team duties to play against the Galaxy in Los Angeles, the first of the final two games between the two arch-rivals.

DeAndre Yedlin to receive Latvian passport, join Spurs in January?

Yet having turned off the game early during the second half after Seattle had characteristically slipped behind Two-Nil’, (2-0) naturally I was surprised, but happy to discover afterwards that Seattle had come back to rein upon Landon Donavan’s final regular season match 2-2 with goals by Sounders FC Captain and Stud Clint Dempsey! And Lamar Neagle in the space of three minutes, knotting the game even in the 72nd minute of play, as the two teams would decide the Supporter’s Shield at Century Link Field the following weekend.

But what’s a soccer devotee to do? Having scribbled how I WAS SO FUCKING PISSED!!!

Having spent all day Saturday waiting for the Seattle Sounders FC “Football” game which my NFB Newsline for The Blind TV Guide said was on Root Sports @5:30PM.

Thus, thought I’d tune-in the Pre-game ‘N scrolled over to KIRO FM on my ‘lil transistor radio around 5PM only to hear them playing the sound bite of Head Coach Ziggy Schmidt saying Thank You, Thank You; Blah-blah-blah as the Sounders had WON the game Two-Nil’; (2-0) WTF???

I HATE NW NEWS! As they give soccer duh Boot every time, as I don’t wanna watch the game  now that I already know the results - FUCKING Media! As I’ve since found out after the fact, the game started at 2:30PM, alas; Oh ‘Whale, at least Seattle won the game and its 1st ever Supporter’s Shield and thus clinches home field advantage throughout the MLS playoffs…

so GO SOUNDERS!

Tags: soccer · Misc


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