Sunday, August 25, 2013

Five Great Things about MLS Soccer & Suggestions for Improvement

In recent years, the Seattle Sounders have come to prominence and their crowds are the stuff of legend.  I had heard the stadium gets super loud and the fans participate in a way no other sporting crowds do throughout the match. There are also so many people we know who love going to these games that it was high time we checked it out.  We went to the game tonight at Centurylink Field.

  And wouldn't you know it--it also happened to be:
  • The home debut of US National Team Captain Clint Dempsey as a Sounder
  • The largest PNW MLS match record attendance of 67,000+
  • A grudge match of Cascadia rivals: Seattle vs. Portland (my former hometown)
  • A warm, dry Seattle evening not bad for our first MLS game.

Five Reasons to Like Soccer

1. Chants, Songs & Flags.
These people were going the entire match.  On their feet, singing, waving flags, chanting--unreal.

2. Unfurling of Very Large Banners.
What does "Build a Bonfire" mean?  You're the Sounders.  Shouldn't you be using a water metaphor?

3. No announcing.
So many times during the Olympics, I'd yell at the TV for those morons to SHUT UP already.  This is a refreshing change but after half the match, I started getting anxious like someone who stopped smoking cold turkey--I felt like I was missing something.  When you're used to a running commentary or at least explanations of plays at a sporting event, it's weird to show up and not have one.  Because I had questions like: Who has the ball?  What call did the referee just make? And most common: WHAT IS HAPPENING?  Because I see a guy on the ground and people pointing and players acting like they are thugs...Hello?  

4. Costumes
I love the enthusiasm and the creativity.  There were also lots of scarves.  The best one said, "Seattle Til I Die."

5. You can throw stuff...

or not.

But really, I have never been a soccer person.  To be honest, I just find it rather boring and anti-climactic--I know, I said it!  There was just so much blood, sweat, tears and effort for that ONE little, measly point.  And sometimes both teams can tie and thus they also both lose.  It's frustrating to see the players work so hard, set up some nice passes only to be thwarted over and over and over again.  I also can't say I'm a fan of using one's head so directly in a sport either.  That's the mom in me.  

I was actually surprised at how physical and thuggish the players were.  It seemed like they were trying to hurt each other and start fights.  It reminded me of another goal-tended sport that rhymes with "sockey".   (My brother vehemently disagrees.)  But with no helmet or extensive padding, those soccer guys definitely have to be tough for all they go through. So I tip my hat with much respect to you, soccer players of the world.  But I just wish you could get points for other accomplishments, like how many times you fall down and no one does a thing about it or how many times a goalie berates his players for not defending better or from how many miles up in space your shoes can be spotted.  All those things could be scored and count for something.  I'm just saying...

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