I had not been down to the Starfire Sports Complex or rather I am sure it had been over 20 years since it was called Fort Dent Park. Tonight Drew and I went down to watch the quarter finals match of the US Open Cup between the Seattle Sounders FC and LA Galaxy. The two teams played in a MLS game only a few days ago down in LA which LA won 3-1. US Cup matches are a little different for MLS teams. First many do not play rounds outside of the finals in the MLS home stadium. For the Sounders they played in their practice field at Starfire instead of Qwest Field. Second until the semifinals most teams play more reserves instead of starters. I am not sure I saw Freddie Ljungberg in the building and many of the starters put on street clothes and sat in the stands after the warmups. For LA Galaxy stars like Landon Donovan did not even make the trip.
It was clear that Seattle really wanted it more on the small field where the ball seem to have a little more bounce than you see at Qwest. The majority of the game was played on the half of the field where the Sounders were on offense. Two goals by Nate Jaqua in the second half gave the Sounders the win and the shutout. The stadium was a sellout at 4512 and I think I only saw one person in a Galaxy jersey. Really a fun atmosphere on a great sunny evening. We got there about 5:15 pm with the gates opening at 5:30 pm. We were maybe 40 people from the gate at one of two gates, that I saw, and so we easily made it into the made grandstands under cover. On the opposite side and behind one goal is a smaller set of stands with no cover. In the corner and behind the other goal was seating on the grass and the beer garden.
On the way out they were stopping the fans from exiting the stands so the players could cross from the field to the locker room. I was lucky enough to be stopped right at the front as the Sounders came off and I got some high-fives including Nat Jaqua – the MVP of the game and one of my favorite reserves who in the game just busted ass and ran in the whole game in Roger Levesque.
With the win, the Sounders have made the semi-finals of the US Open Cup for the four straight years – two as a MLS teams and two as a USL team. They will play another MSL team, Chivas USA, on September 1st at Starfire Sports Complex. While that is a few days before Drew’s wedding I am going to try and go. Oh and it is my Mom’s b-day that day so I guess I will have to make sure it is OK with her. 😉