The stadium was a buzz with rave green, Sounder blue, shale, electricity and super cyan. Occasionally I would see a service man that would hold the flag during the opening ceremony. But as I stood there, taking an embarrassingly huge bite of pizza as an attractive male walked by while waiting for my jersey to finish being customized with Johansson’s name and number, there was just something about the atmosphere that I couldn’t quite place. Whatever it was, it was special.
It didn’t hit me until the boom-boom-clap entrance that typically feels like only half the stadium does. I looked around and saw every single pair of arms raised up above the heads of their owners. The sight and sound of this boom-boom-clap just seemed stronger, brighter, more united despite the fact that the rest of the stadium eventually lost sync with the ECS as it normally does.
Alvaro’s goal really set a fire under the entire stadium, the players and fans alike. I almost burst into tears at that point. It was the first time we had scored first in a long while. That was it, that was the moment that I knew my Sounders, our Sounders, were back. Eddie’s goal was, of course, icing on the cake.
But you can’t forget the sprinkles.
The moment my housemate next to me pointed to Steve Zakunai stripping off the training top, I let out a very high pitched squeal that sounded partially like his name. His entrance couldn’t have come at a better time after the Rapids scored a second time, but the goal was called off-side.
The stadium erupted even before the forth official raised the board. It was the loudest I had ever heard the CLink, nothing could compare. Not even the crowd exploding after Alonso’s last minute goal against the Chicago Fire in the final for the US Open Cup last year. Nothing, absolutely nothing, could compare to that noise. I don’t care about rivalries, the number of fans, the fact if you hate the Sounders or love them to death. The volume rivaled that of a heavy metal concert, but it had far more feeling and less screeching metal noises. No videos will ever give that moment in time justice.
With a story book ending, Steve swapped shirts with Brian Mullan, who, if you really live in a box, snapped Steve’s leg in half more than a year ago in an April match against the Rapids that the Sounders would win with a late goal by Fredy Montero. Then they hugged. That was it, I just about broke down crying.
What was that feeling though? I guess I could put it in the words of one of the ECS chants, because, for the first time these words feel true. It’s the first time I can actually say them aloud and think to myself that every single soul in that building was going to give their Full 90;
When it’s us versus them, you can always count on me.
When it’s us versus them, it’s a Sounders unity.