My Man Utd vs. Sounders Experience

22 Jul

Yesterday, I embarked on a journey across the Pacific Northwest to lay eyes on a group of footballers who would come to play a game of football that was magic before my eyes. While many people get the chance to see Manchester United play a few times in their lives, I being an American can only witness the beauty of their play over TV. The six hours of driving, buying tickets the first day they sold, it was all worth it to witness a group of players I will probably only ever see once in my life. Thus, this is my experience watching the Red Devils play the Sounders of Seattle.

My story doesn’t start at the game that night, or even walking to the stadium. It starts in the middle of Washington, where I was stopped at a local deli. Being 4 hours from the city of Seattle didn’t delay my anticipation at watching the game. Of course, this is where the magic of the game was already being felt. Walking through the door was a couple who I’d never met before, and yet I found they lived in the same city as I, and were going to the same game, and had left at the same time. It was only the start of the massive amounts of fans I would come to see. At every gas station, rest stop, highway there seemed to be an endless crowd of fans clad in green and red who were just as excited as I to lay eyes on the like of Rooney, Ferdinand, and others. The closer you got to Century-Link field you could start spotting out cars with Seattle Sounder flags and stickers. It was a magnificent sight.

Driving into Seattle you started to just feel it coming. The music, the countless green and white shirts, flags waving, the kids in the street juggling their soccer balls, the sounds of men and women just hoping to buy a game scarf. It was the kind of thing every football fan the world over just craves. As you found yourself on the grounds outside of the stadium you found dozens of stands filled with clusters of Sounders and Manchester United scarfs. I couldn’t resist the beautiful game scarf decorated with the logos of both teams. As I walked closer to the ticket booth I passed a man drumming on cans, two twins surrounded by fans watching them juggle, and countless other attractions.

The towering sight of Century-Link field is beautiful. Surrounded by apartments clad with Seattle Sounders flags you knew it was a special place. I took my seats to find every cup throughout the stadium had been filled with Manchester United lanyards. It was a simple gift, but it was still pretty cool. We were seated only a few hundred feet from the temporary grass pitch, and throughout the game you couldn’t ask for a better view. Except for maybe the tables that were literally on the edge of the pitch. IT was as I noticed these that a mass uproar filled the currently barley filled stadium as Rooney and co. filed out of the tunnel to begin training. The few people there ran to the edge of the pitch to snap a picture of their favourite Manchester stars. I, being very fortunate, was lucky enough to be standing a mere few yards from the Number 10 himself and despite his hair-transplant was the same Rooney you found yourself looking at over the TV.

Of course the Manchester United stars didn’t stay for the long as they once again disappeared off  the pitch leaving their ball boys to search for the countless missing Nike balls. I was seriously tempted to sneak over and snatch one of the $250 dollar balls. After all, could those fat security guards standing a few meters away really catch me? Nonetheless, after much careful thought and the idea the fact that I didn’t want to take the risk of one of the guards falling on me I resented. Which brought time for a new question, was that really a red carpet they were rolling out onto the pitch?

I thought, “Seriously?! Did Bill Gates come to the game or what?! Oh wait, there’s like two-dozen world class athletes waiting in the depths of Century-Link field.” I must say, I expected the president of the Seattle Sounder or someone to walk on out and the players to later walk out near the dugouts. I was surprised though, as the players received the whole Hollywood treatment. The Sounder’s supporter section lit up with energy. Flags were waving, people singing, and just their trademark style. Even in my own section I found plenty of great supporters, even a guy with a Manchester United flag, who at his own suspense was nearly hit by the drunk fellow in front of me.

Then the game finally came to a start amid much cheering throughout the stadium. The Manchester United line up was start studded with all but two players being regular starters for the squad. Rooney didn’t start and Hernandez was unavailable. What pondered me was that the fact that Dimitar Berbatov didn’t play although he was warming up the keeper before the game.

Manchester United’s style of play as unlike any other. It seemed they weren’t even trying against the Sounders who were easily worn out. To their credit, they put up quite a fight and throughout the game had chances that I’m still questioning how the missed. Yet, Vidic and co. proved too strong of a challenge for the Sounders. Throughout the game some of the less experienced player would find themselves outside the eighteen and choke as Vidic or another Man U defender stepped in front of them. It was sad for me and my fellow Sounders fans, and I being an avid Liverpool fan hated Manchester United for my life. Yet, it’s hard to hate a team who plays such beautiful football.

The first half was salvaged by Kacey Keller, who made a few spectacular saves. After the 45 minute mark the Sounders were only down 2-0. A remarkable feat for them as many expected an absolute mauling of the Sounders. Yet, the Sounders followed what I talked about the problem with midseason friendlies. To prepare for their MLS league games they subbed eight of their starting eleven leaving the reserve team for the Red Devils to constantly taunt through the second half.

Rooney’s hat trick was something I couldn’t help but love watching. He made the goals look so easy, even if it was against defenders who were I’m sure afraid of him. He played all over the field. One moment he’d be slowly walking, seeming to be the laxy fatty some perceive him to be, but then he would break out in a dead sprint to the other end of the field and would be defending his own net. He’s allowed such freedom throughout the field that it’s a miracle.

The game was brilliant. I exited the stadium among the thousand of other fans who were singing, regardless of what team they supported. There were marching bands who were made up of random fans who appeared to have just met. The sea of red and green exiting the stadium was a sight unlike any other. The whole match was something that will never exit my memory.

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2 Responses to “My Man Utd vs. Sounders Experience”

  1. eireburner July 22, 2011 at 11:22 pm #

    Great write up man, loving the pictures!! I was personally very happy to see Man Utd win the game, although I thought Seattle really gave up in the second half. Keep up the good work!

  2. Nike mercurial vapor superfly III August 14, 2011 at 5:02 am #

    Since winter coming, the popularity of buyying Nike Mercurial Superfly shoes for match has never reduced both in stores and online.

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