Fans of the three Cascadian rivals are going to get an early taster for the much anticpated forthcoming MLS action.
The rumours have been doing the rounds for the past few days but now it’s official. Vancouver Whitecaps, Seattle Sounders and Portland Timbers will play a three team series of pre-season friendlies in March at the Starfire Sports Complex in Tukwila, Washington.
The games are scheduled to take place between March 4th and 6th, with a supporters summit, coaches forum and a residency game being thrown in for good measure. Seattle and Portland will kick off proceedings on the Friday night, before the Whitecaps get into action with a game against the Timbers at 5pm on the Saturday.
An under 18 residency game between Vancouver and Seattle starts the ball rolling at noon on the Sunday before the weekend’s activities are wrapped up with a game between the senior teams at 3pm.
Tickets for each match will cost US$10 and will go on sale from February 1st.
In a sign of things to come, Vancouver and Portland fans are already facing ticketing restrictions. Both Whitecaps and Timbers fans will receive an allocation of 500 for the games against Seattle, with both sets of supporters receiving 1300 seats for their match up on the Saturday, whilst Seattle fans are bizarrely being allocated 500 tickets for that game (obviously keen to see what kind of game real football teams and supporters can put on).
If we’re being totally honest, these allocations will be more than enough from a Vancouver point of view. I’ll be surprised if we bring more than 100 fans down for the weekend. Maybe we’ll take our whole allocation in future seasons, once all the MLS crowd are fully on board, but not now.
For Caps fans, the games will most probably will give us our first chance to see our new guys in action and how they’re gelling as a team. We may even have a striker to watch if we’re really lucky. It also gives us the chance to hone some new chants and introduce the newbies to the already established ones.
It’s great to have the games. We were never likely to have games in Vancouver as the Caps will be wanting to keep the hype building for the MLS opener at Empire Field against Toronto FC on March 19th.
I’m looking forward to the weekend, but at the same time, I hope it doesn’t take a little shine of the anticipation and trips during the regular season. We don’t want to have too many meaningless games against who are really our two biggest rivals. Keep these encounters ultra special.
From the Clubs point of view, it will be a great opportunity for the head honchos and front office staff of all three to get together and sort out logistics for the season, especially around travelling support, so we don’t have a bunch of clueless muppets directing proceedings on gameday and possibly creating trouble when there was none in the first place.
For the supporters, it will be a great chance to renew rivalries and friendships, but most importantly this is a huge opportunity for all three sets of fans to show that we can co-exist in a stadium together without there being widespread violence and problems galore.
To show that we can have hostilities and venomous verbal battles in the stadium for the 90 minutes of the game but then share a few incident-free beers and chew the fat after it. No love-fests from now on though please.
We know we can, we just have to prove it to the ever so jumpy front offices. Apparently shared barbecues and pub nights don’t get taken into the equation.
The slightest hint of trouble and our aims to get better ticketing allocations and everything that goes with it will be severely set back.
For the Southsiders and other long time Vancouver Whitecaps fans, the games at Starfire will be a blast from the past as we revisit the home of the old USL Seattle Sounders. I wonder how many of the current Sounders fans went to see them play there and how many of them will be making their first visit like myself.
I was never lucky enough to make it down to a Sounders-Whitecaps USL match there, but the stories from the guys are stuff of legend and it’s going to be a fantastic weekend and one not to be missed, plus another ground chalked up on my worldwide travels.
Starfire will be my 6th stadium I’ve seen games at now in the States, following the Pontiac Silverdome (1994 World Cup), Pasadena Rosebowl (for early MLS LA Galaxy), Seattle’s Qwest Field and Merlo Field and Piggy Park in Portland. Quite looking forward to it and a good taster for AFTN’s away travels in the months ahead.
Regular readers of my blogs will know that the thing I miss most from not watching my beloved East Fife in Scotland, is the fact that I can’t follow the Whitecaps week in, week out, home and away. Awaydays make football.
If you’re thinking of heading down to the games, then the Southsiders are planning on running a bus or two, based on demand. If you want to know more details then check it out and register your interest HERE.
You’d be mad not to head down if you can!
Mon the Caps.