Vancouver Whitecaps announced an exciting pre season friendly today, with Cascadia rivals Seattle Sounders coming to Swangard on Saturday 6th March.
Hopefully the result will be a little better than last season’s closed door defeat down at Qwest Field. Either way, it’s a match we’re all looking forward to already.
For most, it will be the first chance to see the squad that Teitur has assembled for the season ahead and it will also give the Southside a good match to warm up our vocal chords in. No weird games in sporting complexes in the middle of nowhere to start us off this year!
The last time Vancouver fans saw the Caps take on the Sounders in any match was back in 2008. Too long when you have a fierce rivalry to maintain and build upon.
Back then of course it was in the Sounders USL days and a season in which we saw the Whitecaps become USL Champions once again.
Looking back, it’s amazing to see how far Seattle have come since they joined the MLS. Their crowds have been an amazing runaway success story, that still shows no sign of stopping.
A cap of 22,000 season tickets initially has now crept up to 32,000 for their forthcoming second season and all this after recording a MLS record breaking average home crowd of 30,943 in 2009.
Tremendous stuff and there’s even talk that their attendances will be at least 37,000 for this year and possibly more.
You could ask where were all these people when the Sounders were playing in USL. Same with Toronto of course with the Lynx and undoubtedly the same for ourselves in Vancouver as well.
It is a shame that the general North American public only care about a league that has “major” stupidly stuck in the title. A shame and sad, but it’s their loss. They miss out on the intimacy of it all that we enjoy just now. As many of you will soon find out for possibly the first time in your football watching lives. The bigger crowds mean a bigger buzz, atmosphere and noise but it’s not as special as what we enjoy and create just now.
I certainly wouldn’t knock the fans of Seattle that do come out now. They’ve been a credit to their team, their city and the MLS. The Sounders have created a buzz in Seattle that is truly sweeping across the city.
When I was down to see my beloved 49ers play the Seahawks a few weeks ago I was amazed at how many people were walking around the city wearing Sounders gear. There were also several conversations about the Sounders taking place at the stadium and the guy beside me was Sounders season ticket holder and described them as “his main team to watch” in Seattle.
As a newcomer to Vancouver, I still have slight fears that the crowds of yesteryear, and the original NASL, may not return as we think come 2011. If we can create anything like they have done in Seattle though, then it’s going to be electric.
The Caps match against the Sounders next month may be meaningless in the grand scheme of things but it’s a reminder of what’s just around the corner.
At $15 a ticket, get yours from the Caps office now and let’s get our singing started early this year.