Thursday, 16 July 2009

Seattle Sounders FC

Sound as a pound

The Seattle Sounders are about to become your new favourite team (Seattle Who!? - Ed). Let me explain. Some might breathe a huge sigh of relief when I tell you that they aren't your average MLS team. Us Europeans may already have a view on 'soccer' in the United States of America but this team differ in that - get this - they have proper passionate, vociferous fans. And relax.

In a candid interview with the influential and award winning website Prost Amerika Soccer, EFW delved deeper than ever before into a club that is about to take America by storm.

I realise that this has nothing to do with European football but hey, what's a continent between friends!? This could be the start of a 'special relationship'. I'd seattle (sic) for that.

This is part one of a two part series on the Seattle Sounders. First up we hear from the fans and next week, we've arranged an interview with a director at the club. Aren't we good to you!? (get on with it - Ed).

So here is the interview in full. Call it a scoop if you like, I certainly will be doing to anyone that listens:

How much does it cost to watch a Seattle Sounders match?

Season tickets started at $288 and are sold out. The club originally decided to cap sales at 28,000 but have since relented. Due to the popularity of the matches, more seats from the massive Qwest Field have been made available to general admission, and are about $18. Not expensive by the standards of US sport. Still the place holds 68,000 and they just stretch a tarpaulin over the upper deck. The beer is cruelly overpriced, and many fans choose to get tanked up in the neighbouring pubs instead (where do we sign - Ed).

What sort of crowds to the SS attract (numbers wise) and how does this compare with the Seattle Seahawks, Mariners and Supersonics?

The Sonics left town last season to play their basketball in Oklahoma. Currently, the Mariners are averaging 27,138 and the Seattle Sounders FC 29,715. So soccer is the biggest draw in the summer. The NFL Seahawks sell out the 68k stadium, but there are only 8 home games.

What is the greatest moment in the SS history to date?

If you assume the club just began this year when MLS arrived, I guess it would be winning the first three games and being the seventh most successful expansion side in ALL US sports after 15 games

If you accept that Sounders FC is a continuation of a legacy, then there are some titles and trophies in a fairly successful past. Winning the USL trophy in 2007 was my highlight, but older fans will talk of NASL cup finals. I'd say that there is a good chance we haven't achieved it yet, and it may come this year.

Do you have any singing/chanting at games?

More than any other club in the USA. The Emerald City Supporters (ECS) have revolutionised chanting at US soccer and have created what people flatteringly describe as a "European Atmosphere' at the games. Not only are Sounders crowds the largest in the USA, but our fan atmosphere is the noisiest.

Noisy AND passionate - the ECS.

Not everyone loves it though, with some objecting to people standing, some to swearing in the chants, and the commercial department wondering how they can get the crowd to shut up so they can be marketed at like NFL fans. It's a battle waiting to happen. Fascinating to watch.

Tell us about the 'March to the Match'

Drew Carey is a celebrity shareholder. Big football fan. One of the conditions on which he agreed to be a shareholder was that the club had a Marching Band. It forms a procession to the game accompanied by members of the ECS who march in front of it, or behind it. It's not a bad spectacle if you haven't seen 25,000 Scots marching to the skirl of the bagpipes through the streets of Paris.

And the 'golden scarf'!?

Presented to some dignitary at the star of every game. A PR stunt but a harmless one. I'm still waiting to be asked!
It's a nice way of getting Sounders more involved in the community.

The Golden Scarf - A PR Stunt (tick), tacky (tick), I want one (tick).

You have a marching band at each game?

Yes. This was Drew's idea and has been very controversial with those who want to sing and chant.
A massive mistake was made before the year started to put the band in the same section as that populated by the ECS. The fans didn't want them, and the Band members didn't need the aggro from unappreciative fans who had repeatedly requested they be moved.

After a year of trying to persuade the responsible club official to move the band to the other end of the stadium, the ECS leaders met Drew Carey in a pub. Four days later it had been moved to the other end. But a lot of bad blood had been spilled between fans and the club due to the club's perceived intransigence, and a lot of energy pointlessly wasted which could have been used building up game day activities. There are rumours the band will be moved again. They are nice guys and girls, I feel but were used a little as a political football. They deserved better.

What kit (I believe you guys may call it a 'uniform' which makes us laugh this side of the pond) do the SS play in?

Rave green shirts and either matching or blue shorts. There is a blue shirt but we've never worn it.

Is the grunge scene still all the rage in Seattle? Presumably SSFC trot out onto the pitch to the sound of Smells Like Teen Spirit by Nirvana?

Not to my knowledge.
All I can tell you about the trot out song is that it's probably not Combine Harvester by the Wurzels. It's actually a Sounders Fight song, an instrumental written by the great Henry Mancini, who also wrote the Pink Panther music.

Talking of music, you must play a tune after each goal is scored?

The roar of the crowd is too loud for anyone to hear.

If we came over for a game, would we be able to take a bucket of popcorn and some Pepsi max (large) to our padded seats to watch the game?

I'm sure we'd do what we could to indulge stereotypes.
Popcorn is vile though, isn't it? Isn't that what you have to eat at cinemas in England anyway? And a packet of crisps in a size you can only buy at cinemas?

Do you have any celebrity fans?

Apart from myself,
just Drew Carey. Joe Roth, a Hollywood producer, is the majority shareholder and he's certainly a personality.

What's the best novelty item you stock in your Pro Shop? Over here in Europe many clubs have started to sell toasters that print the teams logo on the bread. Pretty impressive eh!?

Nothing too crass. Soccer fans here have acquired a reputation for being a little discerning, and Seattleites are generally smarter than the rest of the country.
Distributing inflatable thundersticks before a game is the silliest thing they've done, but not the daftest they've threatened to do. When Freddie Ljungberg was signed, there was a rumour they intended to put cowbells on every seat. Someone may have told them that cowbells come from Switzerland and Freddie ... doesn't. We never heard of it again. One day I'll get GM Adrian Hanauer to own up.

Who are considered to be the Seattle Sounders greatest rivals?

Although left lingering in the United Soccer League, Portland Timbers are the big rivals. The Vancouver Whitecaps are our friendly rivals and the fans mix together well. Portland can be a little more awkward, but by the time the two sides join us in MLS in 2011, all will be sanitised.
The Pacific Northwest is set to become the epicentre of US Soccer.

Presumably, with the distances involved, you don't receive or take many away fans to matches?

Almost 1000 went to Portland for a US Open Cup game earlier this month, depending who you talk to. The Timbers also used to bring a few here. Sounders had over 100 in Los Angeles, but generally not big numbers.
But in 2011 when Vancouver and Portland enter the league, all that will change.

How many column inches would would your average SSFC match take up in the Seattle Times newspaper?

The coverage has been pretty good this year because it's new. How committed they will be if the Mariners stop sucking, or in year two is a subject for much debate. Seattle does have the most vibrant soccer websites and internet users and that's where the sport is strong.
Sites like mine, Prost Amerika Soccer, GoalSeattle and Sounderatheart are all very popular and the club is generally cooperative with our newsgathering, and we try to be responsible with the information we glean. You wouldn't believe some of the stuff I decided not to print.

What or who is the club mascot? Over here in England, my team Brighton and Hove Albion have a man dressed in a 6ft Seagull outfit who runs around the pitch, flapping his wings and my other team Lewes can't even stretch to that due to having no money to even fund a furry 'Rooks' outfit.

Sammy the Sounder I think. There is a finite point to how many gimmicks you can cram in before the game actually starts.

I was reading this morning about the Raymond James Stadium in Tampa Bay and their 103 foot replica of a pirate ship they have in their stadium. In the interests of "bolstering team spirit" the ship fires out rubber footballs and confetti everytime the team scores. Any such delights at the Qwest Field?

Yes, we fire out silver, blue and green shiny confetti which lies on the pitch throughout the match. Other than that, nothing really too cringeworthy. Any plans they may have had for it, have been superseded by the fan atmosphere. There are some pretty wise heads running this franchise. Sounders took many commercial staff from the NFL Seahawks and generally they get the soccer thing. Once in a while, they misjudge what soccer fans will tolerate but overall, a big thumbs up.

The view of Qwest Field from the Smith Tower

Check out the North Stand. Crazy guys those Americans eh!?

Do you get any violence at MLS matches?

Never seen any. There were some incidents after 2500 Toronto fans drank their way down to Columbus on buses. More Canadians got arrested at the last Buffalo Bills game, I'm told. It's very rare. At Sounders, the only trouble I've ever heard of was caused by over bossy stewards
apparently throwing their weight around, but I only heard one side of the story. It's not a big problem.

Being English, I'm contractually obliged to ask this question: What effect do you think David Beckham (our Becks) has had on the MLS?

It depends on how the saga ends. Most LA fans want shot of him and are now serially unimpressed with his conduct. Maybe he can win them back over with performances. Opposition fans will boo him mercilessly. If LA Galaxy fans drive him out, the self-respect of this league may increase. He put England's world cup chances above everything. As a Scotsman, I have to say that's unforgivable.

Not the view of European Football Weekends obviously but some fans over here in Europe suggest that the likes of Beckham are over there for an easy fistful of dollars to help with their retirement plans. How do you react to that?

Depends on the individual. I've seen the state of Freddie Ljungberg's legs after a game and he is always wrapped in ice after getting kicked up and down his legs. He doesn't need that, especially as those pins were formerly his modeling livelihood. Beckham is a one off, I can assure you Freddie and Darren Huckerby give their sides everything they have.
Likewise Toronto's Danny Dichio.

And finally (phew) you must be pretty excited to have Freddie Ljunberg on board this season. How do you rate your chances for the season?

Freddie sold a lot of tickets but he has impressed everyone with his application. Initially he seemed to get frustrated very easily with the inabiliy of his colleagues to read his intentions, but that has worked itself out and now he plays very well with Brad Evans and London's Steve Zakuani. Freddie has been a model pro since he got here.

The model (pro).

So there you have it. That interview has done a lot to change my opinion of the Sounders. I must admit, I entered into this with a bit of a 'sceptical stance' taking the team and the MLS as a whole to be a bit of a joke. Those answers have made me sit up and think. They could be good guys after all. A flight to Seattle to see them and join in with the fun anyone!? Sound as a pound.

All photos are courtesy of the Prost Amerika Soccer and Stuart Fuller from the equally excellent Ball is Round website.

Feel free to add a comment below


GS-1 said...

Thanks for the coverage, Danny!

BigDaveOUFCofMortimer said...

Great Interview Mate!

But if you do decide to go over the the states for a game or two make sure you do get down to the Portland Timbers as they also have some fantastic atmospheres (check out youtube) its seems the Northwest of America is a hotspot for proper footie!

Also Portland has quite a few brewerys there (the most in the states at 28!!!! diffrent breweries) which im sure will please you! haha

Keep up the good work!!!

BigDaveOUFCofMortimer said...

Also What does (sic) mean? as ive seen it in loads of things but never been able to find out lol!!

Good Luck to the Sounders in the MLS.

Anonymous said...

This makes me ill.

Come to Portland and see proper football support.

As for (sic) - that's an acknowledgement that a word is intentionally misspelled - either as a quote of someone else's misspelling or intentional as is the case of the pun in the post.

i.e. "Shittle(sic) is a disgusting, corporate bastion of manufactured, modern football."

Up the Timbers.

Anonymous said...

fuck seattle...

real support is in portland

E'an Todd said...

Sanitized is Shittle currently.

A fucking /band/.

Portland is support.

Ask the Mackems how we hosted them proper like.

Man Boobs FC can EADIAF.

Anonymous said...

For the uninitiated, you may wonder why Timbers fans are commenting on an article about the Sounders. They are a funny lot whose entire supporter culture revolves around jealousy of and irrevocable obsession with the Sounders. They rarely know the names of their own players, but they will mark their calendars months in advance for a match against us. If you spend time in person with a Timbers fan, you will hear more talk about the Sounders than their own team. And we aren't even in the same league. It is a remarkably strange phenomenon. I am trying to think of an analogous situation in England. Portland is also ranked as the #1 "most depressed" city in the United States. More people on anti-depressants than any other city.

Anonymous said...

to the guy above, i think we are commenting on the article just to make sure the entire european continent (who obviously reads this very influential blog) knows what a set of c*nts you are. also we think it's funny to watch you say that we don't support our own club and only hate yours. yes very true that, we never even go to our matches. you got us there! well in, mate. oh, and i know the name of every timbers player ever, try me.

Anonymous said...

very cool! I adopted them as my team when they were announced for the MLS.

I loved everything from them adopting the same policy that Barcelona has where the Sounders can vote out their GM.
The fans love the sport.
I have been up to Seattle once so far for a match when they played Chivas and I will be out in LA again for the Sounders vs Galaxy match with 200 fellow Sounders fans.

Good reporting!

Unknown said...

I'm not trying to start a scrap here, I'm sure you mean well, but how many North American soccer games have you been to? I mean:

'Do you have any singing/chanting at games?
More than any other club in the USA. The Emerald City Supporters (ECS) have revolutionised chanting at US soccer and have created what people flatteringly describe as a "European Atmosphere' at the games. Not only are Sounders crowds the largest in the USA, but our fan atmosphere is the noisiest.'

this is about the most laughable thing I've ever heard. Sure, it sounds loud, there's lots of people in the stadium and it was built to funnel noise, but the ECS is a really subpar supporters group. Look to Barra Brava, Section 8, the Timbers Army, and even the Red Patch Boys (very new, buts lots of promise). To try and paint the ECS as some kind of passionate and influential group is a joke.

Anonymous said...

This blog is just proof that Timbers Army has "Seattle Sounders" on their google alerts.

Danny Last said...

Where would soccer/football be without rivalries eh!?

One thing is for sure - forget David Beckham - next time Portland Timbers play Seattle Sounders, I'm flying over to the States for the match!

Anonymous said...

Have you ever had a tin of flounder spread?

Anonymous said...

Up the ECS! Down with the haters!

Anonymous said...

God Bless the Sounders to keep Portscum in the news!

Without the unrivalled success of Seattle absolutely revolutionizing MLS in the States - the timbers would remain what they are, an unknown, second class farm team who only sell out when Seattle comes to town. The TA's only creative outlet is hating on Seattle - they have no clue what support is. Children walking among men, trying to ape daddy.

The ECS is true soccer support in the States. Die-hard fans with a history and relationship with the team. Forcing all other groups to relearn how to operate. Thanks to the ECS the timbers may get a shot to play in the big league - two years down the road, but they need to do things like get a real stadium, get a real team and learn how to draw in a crowd.

Awesome article on the only real soccer team, and support club, the U.S. has to field.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the write up. Prost Amerika is a great soccer blog and good choice for an interview.

And you just have to laugh at the Timbers fans. How did they even find this blog? Obsessed! There is no rivalry because the Sounders barely acknowledge their existence. The Vancouver Whitecaps are the real deal, historically. Sounders and Whitecaps have played more matches than any pair of North American teams. They also regularly compete for the top of the table and in the playoffs. Timbers are perennial losers and can't even get a proper stadium ready to move up to the MLS. Their owner is also the architect of the economic crisis that threatens to bring the US to its knees. Do some reading on Henry Paulson, a George Bush cronie.

TimbersFan said...

I like turtles!

Anonymous said...

Portscum = Millwall.


timbers107 said...

Sounders are a joke.

All manufactored.

Sounders = modern football.

Timbers = true to the game.

Lukasz said...

I feel bad that there was no reference to the Second Sounders team that might enter the MLS.

Rumor has it that the Portland team is thinking of naming itself The Sounders because they know the only way Timber fans will show up is if they see "Sounders" on the ticket.

Anonymous said...

timbers107 said...

All manufactored.

OK man, nice try at spelling. Please go back and refer to your dictionary. It's spelled, manufactured.

On a side note, great interview and fantastic writing! You should fly over and come to a game! Your beer will be paid for!

Danny Last said...

Maybe in the interests of fair play, I should do an article on the Portland Timbers. What do you think!?

IceFunk said...

Danny Last,

just to let you know, the Sounders also have a marching band (that plays during the games), give their fans Thundersticks, and just released a rap video done by Montero and Jaqua, that may make you laugh so hard, that nothing else will seem funny again, quite literally.

While Seattle has definitely done some things right, they are also the epidemy of modern football. We are not haters down here, we are football realists, and we have to keep our northern neighbor at bay. Simple as that.

Anonymous said...

The Timbers have one of the most corporate whores alive as their owner. They have sponsors on their shirt just like everyone else and they are joining the exact same league that the Sounders are in. The Timbers are just as corporate as the Sounders.

The TA are "good friends" with S8 in chicago and yet S8 gives out flags with "Best Buy" on one side. Yet they all trash the Sounders as corporate.

It is sad that they (Timbers fans) have to insert their names everywhere Seattle is mentioned. You can make your own judgments why they insert themselves into everything Seattle.

It isn't out of some mission to keep out Modern Football though. If it was they wouldn't be so happy to join MLS. They wouldn't be so happy with their owner.

Anonymous said...

17 July 2009 16:11,

the Timbers are annoying, but being a Sounders fan, I can tell you that they are our #1 rivals. Vancouver is just sort of a friendly close rival. Us and the Caps have been very successful, but I must say that I am most pumped up for a Portland match than any other.

Spit206Fire said...

Only thing portscum has above the sounders is most seasons with out a title.

Have fun waiting to continue your legacy in MLS.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...


Just so the entire world can hate...

Henry Paulson, George Bush's Treasury Secretary, had a son.

His name was Merritt Paulson.

It's his money (mostly daddy's) that funds the Timbers, the son of the man who helped George Bush plunge the entire world into an economic depression.

You can't get more corporate than that, unless said dad was a Goldman Sachs CEO... oh, snap!

GoWings said...

Silly Portland.

The ownership moddel includes supporter voting. A gm vote every four years ala bbarcelona. The us sports markets think inside of leagues along the nfl set up. The chelsea game was great.

Seattle_SHARP said...

"Maybe in the interests of fair play, I should do an article on the Portland Timbers. What do you think!?"

Really you shouldn't play into portscum's sad tactics. Their only claim to fame is being located close to Seattle. They are not a MLS team - and may not ever be so due to unresolved issues.

The timber's have won 0 championships. They have won 0 Cascadia Cups. In their few years of being a U.S. minor league team they have earned no trophies, no titles and have attendance problems which have hampered their bid to join the MLS. The thought to expland MLS into portscum and Vancouver is a direct result of Seattle's succes - done after Seattle was brought in and not on the merits of either the timbers or Whitecaps.

Your article on the Sounders is credible due to the facts all the world can see - the Seattle Sounders FC is a top-knotch organization that has truly injected much needed life into the anemic body of professional U.S. soccer. The praise you've given Seattle has been earned through the efforts of the Sounder's team, management and the Emerald City Supporters.

Wasting ink on that abortion team in portscum would be out of bullying - other than spamming this (and every other article written on Seattle) what has portscum done to earn an article? Their finely honed skills at riding Seattle's coattails?

Let portscum die.

Anonymous said...

The timber's have won 0 championships. They have won 0 Cascadia Cups. In their few years of being a U.S. minor league team they have earned no trophies, no titles and have attendance problems which have hampered their bid to join the MLS.

To be totally fair, they did win a minor award for having the best regular season record in 2004, after which they promptly got swept in two games by the Sounders in the Playoff Quarter-finals.

They even keep their trophy, (a plaque really) and say "Never Forget" which is probably good, as it is their highest award in a generation. Of course I am all for Supporters Shields etc, but when it's your only honor to show for a 34 year rivalry, it's pretty pathetic.
The shocking thing of course is that this year, the Timbers appear to be making another "Top-of-the-Table" run, made possible by their friends from the North when we left their division. So even *that* will be tainted, especially after they have another 1st round playoff wipe-out.

Anonymous said...

A feature on the Timbers would be appropriate. It is a remarkable story how a club in the second tier US league has such a large group of organized supporters and quite large crowds in general too.

This is coming from somebody who has been an influential ECS member for a number of years. I can definitely acknowledge the good things that are going on down in Portland.

Their supporters conduct on the Interwebs is totally stupid, though. And all the talk about corporate or modern football is mostly crap in the sense that the Sounders are no different from everybody else. Personally I hate how modern football is and wish it could be changes, but the reality in the USA and elsewhere is that you either have to accept it or find a club to support in the lower leagues. Sure, the Sounders front office has done a number of stupid things, but they have mostly got it right.

Plus: when they list things that the Sounders front office has done wrong (the band, thundersticks, and so on), they are almost always things that Sounders supporters gripe about too.

Danny Last said...

Blimey, little did I know what a can of worms I'd open when I penned this article. It's good to know that you guys are passionate about your soccer over there in the USA.

As long as that passion remains as banter and doesn't spill out into physical violence then - to me anyway - that's what soccer/football is all about.

This is turning out to be one of the greatest rivalries in sport. I'll wager that nobody over in Europe knew about it either before this article.

Did someone mention free beer anyway!? Throw in a 'golden scarf' and I'll promise to fly over and cover a Sounders game in the near future ;-)

Thanks for all your continued comments.

PDXcassidy said...

I just could not support a team with a marching band...

or hands out thundersticks...

Merritt Paulson has already confirmed non of these items are coming to PGE Park, EVER.

Thus, we may be Bailout FC, but Seattle is CurrentFad FC.

Have you heard the new Seattle Sounders "scarves up" rap video? I heard the ECS just loved it, and might be the official theme now, doesn't surprise me.

Up the Timbers my friend, it's the only franchise that matters in America's Northwest.

PDXcassidy said...

Here is the youtube link:

if you ask me, kinda sounds like a extra retarded version of Cher.

Anonymous said...

Timbers have a big Nike swoosh on their plastic pitch. But they are not corporate. Henry and Merritt Paulson lived on food stamps until they had the brilliant idea of building a soccer team from the grassroots in Portland, a national leader in unemployment, homelessness, methamphetamine addiction, and psychological depression. The civic pride created by the Timbers Army has solved all these problems and has put Portland on the map. Prior to this, they were located in Maine. Sounds like an after-school special.

Anonymous said...

jr said...

This article is quite suspicious to say the least. I would recommend that any sports blogger first do a google search, and then follow it up with a youtube search. I see that this is a pretty heated debate, and I am sure that starting this way would help, but what can you expect from some blogger? Oh, right, some independent fact checking.

I did both checks and found The ECS in all its greatness only has 178 post on youtube. In comparison, the Timbers Army has 582. The Pod, as ECS is also known, wasn’t even formed until 2003. So how could they have revolutionized chanting? These videos are great, check them out.

Here a couple from the Timbers Army that I found.

After watching these videos and reading these comments I’m going to get behind the Timbers. It seems so obvious. The Sounders couldn’t even sell 5,000 tickets to the U.S. Open Cup game against the Houston Dynamo in two weeks, but the Portland Timbers sold over 16,000 in two weeks for a match in the same tournament against the Seattle Sounders. I’m also wondering what will happen when the shine wears off? I think the OKC Thunder tells us all we need about that. If the Portland Timbers don’t win the league and can get the crowds they do, the choice seems obvious. Also read the match report from the Dynamo game and saw in the comments that the ECS was chanting you suck @$$hole after every goal kick. Classy, trying to justify it in the comments was even better. I learned courtesy of wikipedia that the TA was doing that in 2005.

One question, how come all the people in the Timbers Army have scarves that you can’t get from the team store? I can easily find the SS scarf, but it’s corporate (and $25), and I would never pay $30 to join the ECS so I could get a scarf.

And just so everyone knows, I live right in the middle of both cities in stinktown.

Anonymous said...

The Sounders couldn’t even sell 5,000 tickets to the U.S. Open Cup game against the Houston Dynamo in two weeks, but the Portland Timbers sold over 16,000 in two weeks for a match in the same tournament against the Seattle Sounders....And just so everyone knows, I live right in the middle of both cities in stinktown.

Yeah. Your Neutral, and live right between the two cities, but you had no idea that the fans have been *upset* that that games have been at Starfire, which sells out at far less than 5000, rather than Qwest? And while the vast majority of the 32K fans at each game ordered, or were given, their scarves, most people of the ECS have scarves just as "non-corporate" as the TA, or even lamer, ACES.

Anonymous said...

@ anonymous - 22 July 2009 18:30

Look at your map and see what it is in between the two. It’s not the greatest, but it’s where I live.
I didn’t know that Starfire sold out at less then 5,000, but you can’t blame the Portland Timbers for Seattle’s failure to bid on this game being held at Qwest Field and rewarding the fans. You might not get it, but the U.S. Open Cup awards home field advantage on a bid system, and Seattle bid to have the last two matches at Starfire. What does that say about their feelings towards the “fans?”

I’m not sure what your argument about the scarves is? Were 32,000 scarves ordered, or were they given away? Who gives merch away? If your only going for the scarf, I think you’ve got your priorities a little mixed up.

DaveS said...

Ignore the Portland peeps... they're jealous, and at risk of losing their MLS team.

Come to Seattle, and you will thoroughly enjoy the experience.

Danny Last said...

@ Jr said...22 July 2009 17:39

Why is all this suspicious my friend!? And what do you mean by "What do expect from some blogger"!?

To be honest with you, I hadn't heard of either club a couple of weeks ago so this has been a learning curve for me.

As such, I'm neutral on this one as I don't support either club. I'm just bringing this intriguing rivalry and debate to a wider audience.

I'm currently working on a follow up article on the Portland Timbers so you'll get your say.

Just to reiterate, I think rivalry in soccer/football (& sport in general) is a very healthy thing indeed as long as it doesn't spill over into any physical or personal abuse.

I think thus far it's pretty much been a reasoned debate. Long may it continue.

jr said...

Danny Last,

It’s suspicious because you miraculously found the Seattle Sounders and the Prost Amerika website, and didn’t do any fact checking. I know that the Sounders just played Chelsea, and that game has been scheduled for quite a while (17 Feb 2009 press release), but honestly, you just heard about them? I guess it just feels like Prost Amerika got a hold of you to push the Sounders just after the Chelsea game. I also get that you are not a fan of either team; I just think you should do a little digging on your own. Just going to the Prost Amerika site should tell you that you might want to check some facts on your own.

The MLS All star game is coming up and it’s against another European club you’ve probably heard of, Everton FC.

I eagerly await your piece on the Portland Timbers.

BigDaveOUFCofMortimer said...

Blimey Danny Mate this is a good ole fashioned rivals online whingefest lol seem to remember a few of these between my team Oxford United and Ermm (feels nasty n dirty for writing this) Swindon Town.

Just wanted to say something to Anoymous 20 july 13:23.

So Portland won the league then not just some minor award they was the best team week in week out not winners of some random Play-Off Two legged cup thingy you use to decide the league champions (which to any British football fan I know is no way to decide a league title and one of the biggest reasons the MLS etc has zero respect) Im not a Timbers fan im not a Sounders fan by the way.

Also why must US teams have such sill names like Timbers Sounders Galaxy and the worst of the lot Fire! (makes me laugh they choose to have a nickname relating to there biggest disaster!)

Anonymous said...

Timbers forever!!

Danny Last said...

@ JR said....23 July 2009 09:14

With repsect JR, I think it's you who should be doing a little digging and fact checking.

If you really want to know how the article came about, pull up a chair and I'll explain. A few weeks ago I covered a match for this website in Wales - Llanelli v Motherwell - in that report I posed a question about a saucepan (you'll have to read it, that's another story) which the chap from the Prost Amerika site kindly answered.

As he'd been so kind, I checked out his website and read about the Seattle Sounders accordingly. As I mentioned previously, I'd never heard of them and so I thought I'd pen an article about them. There was no ulterior motive.

Since then the story has become more interesting (to me anyway) because of this great rivalry.

Maybe it's the case that you both have good sets of vocal fans which sets you apart from most other sides in the States? That I've yet to find out.

The article on the Timbers should be up in around two days time.

WonsanUnited said...

Whenever I watch Seattle on the TV I never hear any singing. When I watch TFC, DC, Chicago, even my hometown Metro in that cavernous Giants Stadium, I can hear singing. All this Seattle shit is really hyped up. It's great for the league and soccer in this country that they can get over 30K fans. But they're certainly not the loudest fans in MLS. If I were to compare MLS to J-League, Seattle is like Albirex Niigata. They can draw a lot of people, but they just aren't that loud. TFC is closest to being the Urawa Reds of MLS.

Anonymous said...

Whenever I watch Seattle on the TV I never hear any singing. When I watch TFC, DC, Chicago, even my hometown Metro in that cavernous Giants Stadium, I can hear singing.

There is one main singing section (the ECS in the Broughm End) and a secondary set (North End Supporters) which all told amount to perhaps 5-6 thousand. The rest of the stadium is occupied by a more typical US crowd, in that they are always yelling, creating a fairly constant roar, who's level rises and falls depending on whats going on in the pitch. Unless the ECS was mic'd (which it is not) there would be no way to pick the singing out from the general crowd noise.

Some of the North American Soccer specific stadiums do in fact mic the Ultra sections, which carries the singing and chanting over the TV, regardless of what the rest of the crowd is doing. Most of the rest have such low attendance, that the majority in the crowd are the Ultras, that can easily drown out the few hundred that are not.

Personally, I'll take the large crowds, and then just make sure that my seats are in the South End.

Armand said...

In response to the lack of noise over the TV channel at Qwest Field in Seattle; As a photographer, I have the range of the pitch to move about, I carry an Ipod and listen to some pretty obnoxious heavy metal music (keeps me pumped up and sets a tone for my shots). I have to keep the volume just a touch below full to hear my music, and I will likely be starting to use full muff headphones to block out the outside sound. All that said, inside that place is LOUD.

One reason there is little noise over the TV is the announcers are in a box that is sealed from the outside by large glass windows. The NFL team that uses this facility has a fan base that is recognized as the noisiest in their league. They had to soundproof the announcers booth so their mikes wouldn't pick up the noise. This was done prior to the SoundersFC arriving, and the fan base here has done little to encourage the TV producers to change their practice.

Mates, it is loud in Qwest, and loud all the way around, not simply North and South ends. The fan base, albeit not as cultured as the rest of the football world, is learning quickly and join in 32k strong to sing together.

Anonymous said...

Also why must US teams have such sill names like Timbers Sounders Galaxy and the worst of the lot Fire!

The US / North America arguably has 3-5 Major sports, depending on what you count as Major (American-Football, Soccer-Football, Baseball, Basketball, and Hockey).

Occasionally a city has multiple teams in the same sport. So if you say that you are a Chicago fan, no one knows what you mean, so you would need to say: the Bears, Bulls, Fire, Cubs, Whitesox, or Blackhawks. And depending on who you talk to, you will get 6 different answers as to which is most important.

So we give them nicknames so that we can keep them all straight. Some are really stupid (NY Red Bull) and a few mimic Europe (Real Salt Lake). Salt Lake is an anomaly simply because no other major teams call themselves "Salt Lake".

Anonymous said...

No one likes us, No one likes us
No one likes us, We don't care

Up the Timbers!

Cassie Wallender said...


Thanks for the article! :-)

Anonymous said...

I hate to wade in here and take sides, but as a supporter of both these teams rival, Portland's supporters have been doing what they've been doing longer and better than Seattle's have. Where were Seattle's supporters when they were down a division?

Then again, here in Vancouver our supporters group was doing this before either of those teams have. We may not be as big, but we were around before either of these groups.

Therefore, Seattle fans claiming to have revolutionized soccer support in the States is as ridiculous as Toronto's Red Patch Boys claiming to have done so in Canada (and the states).

Danny Last said...

At last! Some input from a Vancouver Whitecaps fan. I wondered how long it would be.

To complete the trilogy, I was going to do a feature on your club but the media relations officer Nathan Vanstone has yet to get back to me.

Anonymous said...

Just noticed this:

"Also why must US teams have such sill names like Timbers Sounders Galaxy and the worst of the lot Fire!"

It's ignorant to call most of the names you listed as silly. They all have meaning to the region the clubs are from (aside from Galaxy). Timbers are so named because of the history of logging in Oregon. Sounders are so named presumably after the Puget sound waterway in the region. The Fire are so named after the great Chicago Fire of 1871 which destroyed the city and killed hundreds. It's an homage to the city's history.

Danny Last said...

Krammerhead, it wasn't me (the author of the original article) that mentioned "silly names" but thanks for clearing that up anyway. Much appreciated my friend.

Anonymous said...

Danny, I realize that it was not you who ridiculed the clubs nicknames, I was responding to the person that did.

Funny, each time I read this thread I find something new that has been posted that I feel I have to respond to. To the person who said that Vancouver and Portland would not be getting moving up to MLS if it were not for Seattle, well your comments reek of a new soccer supporter with no knowledge of history. The claim that Portland has suffered from poor attendance which has threatened to move to MLS is either utter stupidity or an outright lie. Portland has always been a leader in league attendance in the USL-1 league, averaging over 6,000 the last few years. On the other hand, Seattle were lucky to get 2,000 a game in the same league.

Sorry to seem to be over posting in this response section, but I sure hate people spreading lies.

DDay said...

Hey Portscum!

Put something up rather than your ridiculously overused "rising sun" banner, and you'll be taken seriously.

Do a song other than "We are the Timbers", loud enough to hear when I'm in your stadium, and I'll care.

Continue laying claim to the "Soccer City USA" moniker while your city has daily press eviscerating Paulson's bid. Because that totally looks legit.

Oh, and please keep smoking meth.

lord ming said...

seattle sounder's were a team in the second division for as long time and they had a good team with no fans. now the MLS rolls in and the crafty marketing of Wexley school for Girls + a lot of money = a heapload of 'football crazy fans'.. ONE question then for all of you clad in 'rave' green. WHERE WERE YOU BEFORE?

Ajas said...

Just a follow-up to this article now that the seasons are done. We shattered all MLS attendance records, averaging 30,943 on the season, excluding two 66,000 friendlies against Chelsea and Barca. We beat Portland, Houston and DC United to win the US Open Cup, a competition sponsored by USSF (not MLS). Here is a video I took of us bringing the trophy back to our stadium:

ECS Flags

We dominated games at home but were stifled by horrific finishing. Here are the highlights from the game above to demonstrate:

Highlights vs Chivas

We ended 4-1-1 on the road to finish just 2 points from the top of the table. In doing so, the Sounders became the first expansion team since '98 to make the playoffs.

In our playoff, we played Houston scoreless for 140 minutes (home-and-home), before they scored a volley off a poor clearance to win. We fought very hard, but they were the slightly better team. Our away support was loud and proud and spirited even when we lost.

For next season, we're selling 30,000 season tickets, and opening capacity to 36,000 seats, so expect it to be another record-breaker! BTW, other posters noted that supporter groups like Barra Brava and Section 8 are bigger (this is true), but ECS has gone from a couple hundred to 1500 in just one season and continue to grow rapidly, and we stay very organized. Here's a good video of us if you want to know what a game is like:



Anonymous said...

It is blatantly clear from the above that sounders fans are a bunch of pretentious narcisists with some hilarious supereriority complex... I am originally from sea-town but now reside in Portland and I can say with absolute certainty that 90% of the Sounders fanbase don't understand the full rules of soccer, nor know their own players names, nor write their own cheers, and also have awful taste in color and suck paul allen's dick daily which is apparent throughout the city from the EMP to S.L.U.T to playing soceer in a football stadium. Like most things in Seattle, the Sounders and their fans have fallen under some strange spell where they actually think they matter. For the record, the Poprtland fan base has a lot more soul than the sounders. And yes, we do love the soccer rivalry with the sounders... for all the assholes on here talking about not understanding the rivalry, they simply make the case and set the point. Our two city's have rivalry that spand back to the days of the NASL and will continue into the future! Timbers Army will stomp your asses!

Anonymous said...

you know what i love most about portland? it's how they're a GUARANTEED 3 points for the best football club in america, the SEEEEEAAAATTLEEEEEEE SOOOOOOOUUUUUNDDDEEEEEEERSSSSSSSSSSS!!

when portland comes into the mls, they'll be the first team to go winless the entire season, and they're supposed fanbase will go back to smoking their meth. there's not a faker fanbase on the entire continent than in portland, the meth capital of the world.

Anonymous said...

March 11, 2010:

Portland Timbers 1 - Seattle Sounders 0

The lower division Timbers, only one week into pre-season camp went into Qwest stadium and took a 1-0 victory off the MLS Sounders in a match that should have been 2-0 in front of 19,000 sad and confused and wet little Sounders Customers.

Hows that "3 guaranteed points" working out for ya?

The Timbers Army has been revolutionizing Supporters Culture in this country since the ECS was calling itself "The Pod", wearing whale hats and bragging when they got more than 15 people in their section.

Oh and Qwest Field pumps in music and noise FACT. I was standing at the top of the North End near a speaker and heard noise distinctly coming from it at different times in the match.

Anonymous said...

by revolutionizing, you mean reusing the same rising sun banner over and over and over every game?

by revolutionizing, you mean how I've only heard one song "We are the Timbers" in PGE Park?

by revolutionizing, you mean how the top attendances for your club are when Seattle comes to town?

Jesus Christ, I can smell the meth through my computer.

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