Month – September 2014

Chivas USA and the Seattle Sounders Perform for No One: A Photo Documentary

I am not doing any hard-hitting journalism (bloggerism?) by reporting on the sad attendance figures at Chivas USA games. However, for some photographic, empiric, super scientific and doubt-proof evidence of the paucity of people at last Wednesday’s Sounders-Chivas game, I present the following two photos. One was taken right before the game started, the other in extra time.

This photo was taken moments before kickoff:

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This photo was taken in extra time:

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A pretty empty house, if not for the raucous ECS. We are the blue, we are the green, we are the only ones at a Chivas game you’ll see!

The Alpha and the Omega of MLS: Seattle Sounders and Chivas USA

The Seattle Sounders and Chivas USA game I attended last Wednesday was surreal. I have never seen a stadium so empty and that includes JV basketball games in middle school (but maybe that’s cause when you’re from a small town in Alaska, there ain’t much else to do). The attendance was announced at 4,021. That’s crap. Maybe that many tickets were sold (or given away in corporate offers), but the capacity of the StubHub center is 27,000 and the stadium was less than 10% full (not nearly 15%). Plus the vast majority of patrons were Sounders fans.

It would be like the New York Yankees going to the Oakland Coliseum in the dog days of Billie Bean’s tenure… say 2009, after the initial highs and before the current resurgence  (I lived in the Bay then and often went to see them A’s. It was easy and cheap and fie on San Francisco). Since the Yankees had come to town, more tickets were sold than usual, but attendance was still paltry. That’s what last Wednesday’s game was: a star-studded high-pedigree franchise visiting the worst draw in the league, and the stadium was still depressing.

The state of soccer in America is not wildly vibrant or healthy when one of the franchises in the country’s top flight is so bereft. My wife and I pulled into the lot (not having done our due diligence on the parking situation) and found we needed to drop $15 cash for the lot. We had none, so I asked for the location of an ATM. The attendant shrugged and said, “forget about it.” The apathy for the team and the whole game day experience was more than palpable, it was suffocating.

Chivas piped in crowd noise during players introductions. Piped in crowd noise. Hell, there were more corporate State Farm and Chivas glad handers and promoters in the concourse than fans. I went to the bathroom twice (once before the game and once at halftime, I’d never miss a minute of even this game) and both times I stood lonely at the urinal, the only person in there. That may have been the creepiest part of the evening, as I have never been in a stadium bathroom that wasn’t thronged (even at those old A’s games).

Most of the concession stands were closed (cool looking taquerias and pizzerias) except for the normal hotdog and beer outlets, the ones the stadium maintains. Seriously, you could only buy hotdogs, nachos, beer, pretzels and peanuts. That was it. Isn’t it the 21st Century and stadiums have gotten all gourmet? Another sign of a toxic stadium situation, aside from, oh, everything else I’ve mentioned, the food prices were outrageous: $14 for a beer!

Lots of pundits talk about the sale of the Chivas franchise: who will buy it, whether or not it will stay in L.A., etc.  I champion the franchise staying in L.A. The market is big enough, the Western Conference needs teams (the East is expanding too much– unfairly or not) but after actually attending a game… I doubt whether this franchise can pull itself out of the toxic environment it dwells in. Rebrand FC might as well be Lameduck FC or DOA FC. Count your blessings you cheer for Seattle. And if you don’t live here, get on up for a game. The atmosphere is, compared to others, out of this world.

Back in the Saddle, Up in Seattle

Hi there Raving Readers! I am back from the magical land of California and looking to talk Sounders again. I am drafting some posts right now for this week’s slate of reading pleasure. Check in tomorrow morning, same Rave time, same Rave channel, for your daily dose of cultural ephemera-laced Sounders talk.

Seattle Sounders Perform Admirably In an Empty Theatre, Beat Chivas USA 4-2

Your Seattle Sounders beat Chivas USA 4-2 Wednesday night in a game for the diehards. Chivas hadn’t scored a goal since July, so the few (and I do mean few) fans who came out were really rewarded. I’m sure the facilities crew were even excited to sweep up the red, white, and blue confetti that showered the southwest corner of the pitch. Goals are that rare for the Goats.

The atmosphere at the Stub Hub Center was… Uncanny. The place was dead. Most of the fans were Sounders. The stadium piped in crowd noise during the player introductions. Twice, TWICE!, I was the only guy in the bathroom (could you even imagine that at the CLink?). Despite the ambiance, the soccer, at least in the first half, was superlative. Everything went in for Obafemi Martins and Andy Rose. It is great to see Rose so involved in the scoring again, like he was in the USOC Semifinal against Chicago (my wife even called it, saying “Rose has been killing it on those far post headers” moments before he completed his brace). And congrats to Oba for scoring his twelfth goal this season,  a career first for him.

Honestly I have more to say and share. But it’s the missus and I’s anniversary and we’re at Disney Land. I couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate than going to a Sounders game, but I won’t be posting for a while. I’ll be back next week with posts exploring the surreality of the Stub Hub Center, and the uselessness if playing Deuce, and the performance of the USMNT against the Czech Republic. Until then, kiss your partner and tell them you love them. Life would be a lonely few decades without someone to share it with.

Seattle Sounders at Chivas USA Gameday

Hey there Raving Readers, I apologize for the lack of posts. My hard drive died. Like fortune’s fool, I hadn’t backed up my crap since June 24th, 2012, so there went a lot of photos, posts, and, worst of all, poems. Quick lesson, back up your data!!

Good news, my wife and our celebrating our second wedding anniversary by attending the Sounders Chivas game down in Carson tonight. We fly out of Sea-Tac shortly and our very, very stoked!!

Bold Prediction: Bah! This ain’t no trap game. No Cubo Torres, No Mauro Rosales:  the Sounders got it in the bag. Seattle: 3-1.

Seattle Sounders and Seattle Reign Representing Soccer’s American Hotbed

Happy Labor Day Seattle soccer fans!

This past weekend was a scrumptious feast (and, no, I am not talking about the grilled salmon you probably enjoyed over the holiday. Beeteedub, if you want killer salmon at a great price check out Dee’s Seafood on Hood Canal. My wife and I were out in Belfair and drove around the point past Union to the Skokomish Reservation. There you can get fresh caught Kings for $3.50 a pound. They’ll even head and gut ‘em for you. Delicious!) for soccer, as the Sounders won their second in a row, while the Reign held home court in the NWSL Championship game. Unfortunately, the Reign lost in a valiant effort.

First off, it was a pleasure following the Reign this season. My wife and I enjoyed every game we attended, loved the new digs at Memorial and savored the fun, attacking style coach Laura Harvey encouraged. Alas, despite the records and regular season dominance, this was not the Reign’s season. When they fell behind Kansas City 2-0 in the 56th minute, I was down but not disheartened. I truly saw the comeback in these guys, as the Reign have made a habit of living dangerously. But the clock kept ticking and a ball wasn’t going in the back of the net. I kept making deals with myself: they’ll get one back by the 70th, then it became, they got a real chance if they get one before the 75th, then OMG we need one by the 80th. Seattle still had a puncher’s chance when Megan Rapinoe scored in the 86th minute at the end of an insane sequence of shots and ricochets in the box. Alas and alack, it was not to be.

I honestly didn’t imagine a reality where the Reign lost this game. But Kansas City is a fine team and they proved it on the pitch. I’ve been backseat coaching all day thinking Laura Harvey could’ve subbed in Mariah Nogueira ealier. KC had a bigbodied backline and the Reign had trouble connecting on their crosses or finding space in the box. Nogueira immediately gave Seattle a back-to-the-goal holdup presence they needed. The offense had looked dangerous all day, but came alive after she entered the game (she came on in the 84th, Pinoe scored in the 85th, just saying). BUT… I am being ungrateful. Coach Laura Harvey treated all of Seattle to beuatiful, brillaint soccer this season. She assembled and coached a team that set a new standard in how the game can be played. Her team just wasn’t better today.

Lucky for us Seattleites, one of our teams looks to be getting better when it counts. The Sounders handled a feisty Colorado Rapids team Saturday afternoon. We all expected more of a rout, but Colorado perservered to make the final minutes pretty frickin’ nervy. The Sounders were the better team, as they got to field the exact same lineup from last weekened’s tilt with Portland. With health, luck and, especially, consistency, the Sounders should be well positioned to stay in the Supporters’ Shield driver seat. Three more points are waiting to be had when Seattle travels to Los Angeles to play lowly Chivas USA, winless in their last 7 (a game my wife and I will be traveling to attend!). Seattle has to keep winning the games they should to keep ahead of the surging Los Angeles Galaxy (who just destroyed the Goats 3-0) and steady D.C. United (who just beat NYRB 2-0). C’mon Seattle, let’s enjoy another 5 game winning streak! We’ll show everyone where soccer thrives in this country.

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