i love soccer. i don’t understand most of what’s going on on the field, but i love it anyway. it’s like watching a dance production: the choreography is sometimes beautiful, sometimes awkward, yet it all flows together. also, soccer players are often times rather attractive. ever seen a fat soccer player? no? i didn’t think so.
i learned a few things today at the sounders FC match versus the columbus crew:
1. sounders fans are not nice
2. kasey keller, if he isn’t god, is pretty damn close
3. soccer players are better actors than most of the people in hollywood today.
given my love of the game, you’d think i’d have been to a match before now. nope. not a one. the sounders FC have been around for two and a half seasons, and this was the first match i managed to get to, and that’s only because i scored a pair of free tickets from a friend who wasn’t able to use them.
the BF and i headed to century link field, which all of the locals have begun calling “the clink” (used to be qwest field), fully expecting to have to sit in the sun for the duration of the match. our seats were on the south end, not on one of the sides where we might have stood a chance of being shaded. imagine our surprise when we got lucky and found we were actually not in the sun, and weren’t for the duration of the match.
despite being a young team (and by young i mean they’ve been in the MLS for two years), they’ve got some well trained fans. there are chants. hand claps. there’s a marching band. there are songs. there’s even the pomp and circumstance one might expect of a premier league team. how the fans got to be this way so damn quick, i don’t know. but it was fun to watch. midfielder lamar neagle scored in the third minute, 21st, and 70th minutes, mauro rosales scored in the 16th, mike fucito scored in the 40th, and then some idiot on the crew kicked the ball into their own net on the 74th minute. the stadium was almost as loud as it gets for a seahawks game, and given that hawk fans are really fucking loud, that’s saying something.
somehow i’d formed the impression that sounders fans were polite. they aren’t. there were a couple of crew fans sitting two rows back from us, and the emerald city supporters (who were sitting two sections over) found them and taunted them. some of the chants directed at the field consisted of “you suck asshole” (which is really interesting to hear in the clink, the loudest stadium in the NFL) and “take ’em all, take ’em all, put ’em up against the wall and shoot ’em” and my personal favorite, “can you hear the columbus crew sing, no, we can’t hear a fucking thing!” the ECS, the largest of the recognized supporter groups, are as close to soccer hooligans as you’ll find around here. they might be rude, boisterous, and love a good beer, but i doubt you’ll find them starting any fisticuffs.
kasey keller, the keeper, made some pretty spectacular saves. he’s planning to retire at the end of the season,
and i predict the sounders are going to cry like little babies when he does. sometimes it seemed like he didn’t have to do anything other than just stand there, maybe point and yell at one of his teammates, and the ball would go over the top of the net, or shoot wide, or he’d pluck it out of mid-air. i’m not ashamed to say i’ve got a bit of a crush on the man. what? balding men are sexy!
this not being a premier league match, we didn’t have nearly as many falls and “oh god, i’m so badly injured i must roll around on the grass for a while clutching my knee/ankle/leg and moan loudly in exaggerated pain” mishaps. there were a few, though, including one that resulted in a free kick for the crew. all the falls were booed quite loudly. speaking booing, apparently you’re supposed to boo each member of the opposing team’s starting 11. the columbus crew, despite being one of the best teams in the league right now, only managed to score on said free kick and a penalty kick.
i enjoyed myself immensely, and it was all great research-because i intend to use a match or two in the shadowdemon trilogy. maybe next time i’ll be able to convince the BF to do the march to the match. in the meantime, if you still don’t understand the allure of soccer, try rick reilly’s classic, world cup lessons we have learned, an article that appeared in sports illustrated in 1998.