MLS Cup Diaries: History Witnessed
More than a few days removed and I am only beginning to wrap my head around what transpired in Seattle last Sunday. There was the beautiful setting of Qwest Field parked just south of the scenic skyline of the Emerald City. There were the masses swarming the large stadium and crowding the surrounding streets, filling the air with song. The March to the Match was a perfect prelude to such a match. And, what a match that was!
Of all the images that come to mind from that weekend, Robbie Russell spinning and then dropping to his knees after drilling home the decisive penalty kick will always be the first thing. I barely watched the ball go in before erupting into my out spastic celebration - eventually bruising my shins on the seats in front of me. Looking out over the penalty area all I remember seeing was Russell kneeling by himself fists clinched in celebration.
My view of that memorable scene was perfect. Thanks to my Sounders season ticket holding cousin, Julie, who informed me of open seats next to hers on row K in section 112. During the mid-game intermission I left my initial locaction high in section 335 and joined her family for a much closer view.
It wasn't until I made my move from the west to the east sideline that I fully appreciated the enormous sea of red in the upper deck taking over sections 338 and 337 almost entirely. They stood as one, and sang as one. They looked fantastic and sounded even better.
As mentioned over on MLS Talk, the RSL support appeared to outnumber the LA Galaxy support by at least 3 to 1. This was never more apparent than during the pre-game festivities, especially the March to the Match.
The RSL brass showed a stroke of genius setting up shop at McRory's, the closest pub to Qwest Field. Everyone who walked up Occidental Ave. to the be part of the pre-game procession had to pass the boisterous party of red-clad supporters singing in full voice. The amount of red being worn and waved was more than impressive. As you made your way toward Occidental Park the scene didn't change, it only intensified. RSL was extremely well represented in the streets.
Just before the start of the March, the Sounders marching band entered Occidental Park and entertained all those who could hear them over the RSL chants with a spirited version of Muse's 'Knights of Cydonia.' Following the song the band moved into position, played Pennywise's 'Bro Hymn', and then proceeded to lead the March down Occidental Ave.
After joining voices with the thousands of others during the walk toward the stadium, to say I was pumped was an understatement. That's why what followed is my only regret of the night.
For some reason I was drawn to Third Eye Blind playing a short concert in the parking lot outside the stadium. The music was fine, but the energy was no where near that of the chanting crowds in the streets. The disparity was so great that I actually found myself quite relaxed while passing through the gates into Qwest Field. Of course, that all changed when I saw the packed sections of RSL supporters and was immersed in their energy.
The various pockets of red brought the passion for much of the match. Although, I have to admit. There was one point in the first half where the Sounders fans broke into their call-and-response chant of, "Seattle! Sounders!" that reminded us all whose house we were in. The sheer volume, at least from where I was sitting, was inspiring.
The post-game celebrations both in Seattle and back in Utah were things that I missed. My return flight, although very affordable, landed me back to Salt Lake late Tuesday. Although, if I had the choice again I would make the same decision.
That's why when I saw the few other red-clad supporters on the flight Tuesday evening their expressions reflected that of my own. We were tired, and ready to be home. But, we had one thing in common. We had witnessed history.
Labels: rsl mlscup