By |2020-04-02T16:57:58-07:00June 13th, 2013|Tags: , , |4 Comments

Naysayers, non-believers, and haters of soccer be damned, the games continued growing grip on Seattle was on display this past weekend. In the span of 72 hours over 94,000 fans streamed through the entries into Century Link Field to watch two matches. Perhaps it’s appropriate that the larger of the two crowds came for the hometown Sounders MLS match with Vancouver which was witnessed by 53,679 fans. The majority of the crowd (there were a few thousand Vancouver fans) went home happy after a come from behind 3 to 2 win for the Sounders. My friend Matt Gaschk points out that the Sounders have been unbeatable in front of big crowds posting a 7-0-2 mark in front of crowds of 40,000 or more and a perfect 5 and 0 record when crowds exceed 50,000.

3 nights later 40,847 fans clad in red, white, and blue attended the US Men’s National Team match over Panama. They not only saw a win (2-nil) but watched Sounders forward Eddie Johnson score a goal.



Tuesday’s crowd doubtless would have been larger had US Soccer not have made such a naked cash grab on ticket prices. Fans did (and should have) expected to pay more for a USA game than for a Sounders one. But with top end prices at $250 and the get in price at $50 some fans were scared off. Nevertheless 40,847 is an attendance figure that requires no apology.

The crowd brought the noise, too. Sports Illustrated soccer writer Grant Wahl lavished the national praise we so often lament is lacking on Seattle fans.

A final thought on criticism of the grass field. There’s an easy solution to this one. Stop installing temporary grass fields in Seattle and start using the perfectly fine turf one located there. In a perfect world there’d be a natural grass field here, but it’s not a perfect world. FIFA has allowed games to be played on turf in other stadiums and has indicated that the turf in Seattle is of a quality that they would OK any match here short of a World Cup final. If that’s the case then there is exactly zero reason to waste money installing a sod field that gets used twice. As part of the growth of the sport in America soccer purists are going to have to come to grips with the fact that not every game can be played on grass.


Thoughts? Comment below or email me at

About the Author:

Mike Gastineau has been a fixture in the Seattle sports community since his arrival in June of 1991. In a business where loyalty and longevity are rarely used in the same sentence his 21-year career at KJR Radio screams out both. During his time at KJR Gas created the KJR Kares-a-thon, a yearly charity radio show that raised over $1.5 million for various Puget Sound-area charities.


  1. Paul June 18, 2013 at 3:58 pm

    While I hope natural grass is eventually installed at CenturyLink Field, I agree with you that there is no reason to install that God-awful temporary sod for international matches and friendlies. If nothing else, playing a World Cup Qualifier in CenturyLink Field with Field Turf would likely be even more of a home field advantage, since several of the US players have either played on artificial surfaces in the past or do regularly now. It seems a little more reasonable that they put temporary grass in when playing the big international club friendlies, because those teams and players just simply refuse to play on an artificial surface.

    I don’t care what FIFA or FieldTurf says about their product – it will always be different than playing soccer on natural grass. And I don’t get the argument that natural grass won’t work in Seattle because of the climate and wear and tear from the Seahawks. Grass grows great in Seattle, and there is certainly no shortage of technology available in this region to support an amazing grass field year round that can withstand 10 NFL football games with proper maintenance. It’s not RFK afterall…

  2. Tim June 18, 2013 at 4:00 pm

    Overall the USMNT game was a good one for Seattle and soccer, however, the constant droning of the ESPN announcers about the turf and how bad the turf was became a bit incessant. A good majority of US kids are now playing on the rubber/fake grass turf fields, but I don’t think this has gotten to the rest of the world. So FIFA then mandates a temporary turf field. If I remember the last Women’s World Cup, the temporary turf wasn’t the best in those events either. FIFA needs to allow the game to be played on the fake grass…

    • Mike Gastineau June 18, 2013 at 4:02 pm

      My understanding is that FIFA is fine with it…it’s a US Soccer thing. Either way…you’re right. Fact of life for soccer in US…some games need to be played on fake turf.

  3. Kelly June 18, 2013 at 5:00 pm

    From the franchise’s opening game to today the owners and management of the Sounders have been overwhelmingly, unquestioningly, focused on winning. They’ve run that club the way teams in other cities are run: players are evaluated on performance and no exceptions are given for being a fan favorite. Players perform or they are dismissed.

    Perhaps coincidentally, the Seahawks front office is now run the same way. What;s not a coincidence is that both teams are winning, and fans are responding by buying tickets and gear.

Comments are closed.