O Brasil vem a Seattle!

The match is booked - Brazil will play Canada in Qwest Field at 7:30 on Saturday, May 31! With World Cup Qualifying coming up for both countries, they should be fielding something very close to their full sides. This is obviously most exciting for the Brazilians that may be playing in the Emerald City, as this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for most Seattleites to see Ronaldinho, Robinho and a host of other superstars. 

We aren't thrilled about the ticket prices - the cheapest are going to run 35 dollars - but that's a minor negative to a fantastic situation. Besides, the match shouldn't have any problem selling out the entirety of Qwest.  The Mariners have a daygame that day, so parking won't be ridiculous. And hopefully in a month's time, the Sounders will have some gear adorned with their new logo for the 67,000 soccer fans to get their hands on. Now all that's left is to get our hands on some tickets - available Monday for all you commoners not already signed up for Sounders 09 season tickets. Probably Saturday for those that are.


Cuban connection?

We've got word that three defectors from the Cuban U-23 national team - keeper Jose Manuel Miranda, midfielder Yordany Alvarez and defender and former captain Yenier Bermudez - are probably on their way to Seattle to try out. Sounders fans may remember a similar situation, as three years ago Cuban striker Maykel Galindo defected, joined the Sounders and scored a few goals while battling injuries. He has since gone on to start for Chivas USA and has scored 13 goals over the last 2 years in MLS. Are Miranda, Alvarez and Bermudez potential MLS players? Hard to say.

We're still trying to get more details on the situation of these three players, but here's the jist of it. The three Cubans tried out for the LA Galaxy and Chivas USA over the last week or so, but were unable to sign contracts basically since they don't currently have identification. Quite possibly, when they get said identification in the coming months, Seattle will be fighting with the two Los Angeles clubs to sign these promising players. Someone should introduce them to the Mariners' Cuban shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt when they arrive. Or maybe buy them a sandwich from Paseo.

And from the LA Times, here's the back story on Miranda, Alvarez and Bermudez. It's really a fascinating one.

(MONDAY NIGHT EDIT: Still no word on whether or not the three are in Seattle yet, but the Sounders have definitely been talking with them.)


Leaders of the attack

Going into the 2008 MLS season, the Colorado Rapids were expected to be a mediocre team just contending for a playoff spot. The Columbus Crew were supposed to be on the outside looking in at the playoffs and Toronto, well, Toronto FC were widely predicted to be in a battle with San Jose for the label of 'worst team in MLS'. 

Of course, all three teams have started off very brightly, and the common factor can easily be found. Each has a dynamic central attacking midfielder pulling the strings: Columbus has Guillermo Barros Schelotto (shown here), Colorado is led by their prize offseason acquisition Christian Gomez, and Toronto just recently picked up the mercurial but extremely talented Amado Guevara (who just turned in a 2 goal performance, leading the Canadian club to their third straight win). Each of those players is definitely in the All-Star running, and all are very exciting to watch. 

Which brings us to Seattle. For 2009, the Sounders will be bringing up a few players from the USL side, and sprinkling in several more from the expansion draft. But neither of these routes of player acquisition is going to bring in a dangerous attacking midfielder, and if the Sounders run a diamond midfield (which the most likely coaching candidate, current Seattle coach Brian Schmetzer, does), the importance of this position will be magnified even more. In their worldwide search for a Designated Player and other international talent, Adrian Hanauer and co. would be wise to make filling this position their number one priority. 


Ticket prices on the way!

A seating and season ticket pricing guide should be released within a week. Probably next Monday, but don't quote us on that. The cheapest seats (those on the endline) will be about 18 to 20 bucks per game for season ticket holders, and the other seats will be.... more than that. Anything other details we'd just be guessing at. If you can't wait, hit up this link to check out the views from all the different Qwest Field sections.

Apologies for the short and detail-less update, but... well, it's 2 in the bloody morning.


There is a team in the city already...

Somewhat lost in the announcement of the team name and badge, as well as the various superstar rumors, is the fact that the current iteration of the Seattle Sounders have just begun their season and their attempt to defend their USL title. Not surprising, really, since the first game (played last Saturday afternoon) was in relative obscurity, across the country in Charleston, SC. Compare that to the season opener for this year's MLS expansion club - the San Jose Earthquakes opened in LA in a primetime Thursday night game!

The Sounders managed to get a point in a 1-1 draw thanks to a late goal from Kenji Treschuk, one of many hopefuls to make the big club in 2009. But the focus this year will undoubtedly not be on results, but on developing for next year. Pretty much every regular starter has a chance of playing for Seattle Sounders FC, with some more likely than others (and with striker Sebastien Le Toux basically a lock already.) Names to keep tabs on (in our humble opinion) are midfielders Treschuk and Kevin Sakuda, defenders Zack Scott and Taylor Graham, keeper Chris Eylander, and a handful of others. We'll be watching them closely, and you should too.


New targets needed

It appears that both Thierry Henry and Juan Roman Riquelme can be crossed off the list of superstars with a chance of joining the Sounders. Riquelme has recently said that he wants to stay with his current club, Boca Juniors of Argentina, for the remainder of his career. And just yesterday this article came out which says Henry wishes to leave Barcelona and go back to play in England so he can see his daughter more often. Playing across the globe in Seattle wouldn't exactly fit for him, then.

In the meantime, Adrian Hanauer will continue traveling around the world, as he recently got back from Argentina (ostensibly just to scout, not to try and convince Riquelme) and will soon head to Africa. For now, it seems, attempts at coaxing a big-name player to the Pacific Northwest for 2009 will be put on hold.


Mexico-China a success, Brazil-Canada up next

Does one good turnout deserve another?

That may be the case in Seattle soccer. The national teams of Brazil and Canada are reportedly close to an agreement to play a friendly match sometime this summer at Qwest Field. This comes on the heels of the smashing success of the Mexico-China friendly at the same stadium, which Mexico won 1-0. Originally sales for this match were limited to the lower bowl of 24,000, but the match ended up selling more than DOUBLE that amount of tickets - over 56,000 were in attendance!

The Brazil-Canada match isn't finalized and no date has been set, but it will surely draw a comparable crowd. Brazil is always a big draw wherever they play, and the fact that the match should take place in the summer means that many Brazilian stars in European leagues (dare we say Ronaldinho?) will be available. They'll face an almost certainly outmatched Canadian side that could feature Houston Dynamo catalyst Dwayne Derosario (our fave MLS player). We'll have more details as we get them.

Here's a video featuring goals from both Ronaldinho and Derosario.

And here's the Seattle PI blurb.


The keeper conundrum

We're still half a year away from the serious roster building stuff, and already a potential roster conflict is emerging. But it's a good kind of conflict. Seattle Sounders FC will likely be able to choose between Kasey Keller and Marcus Hahnemann, both world-class keepers with local ties: Keller is from Lacey, Hahnemann is an SPU graduate and former Sounder from Seattle. And both have recently expressed serious interest in playing in Seattle.

Keller: "It’s an extremely attractive proposition. Hopefully at some stage it becomes a viable option, and coming from that area, it’s obviously something I’d find extremely interesting... there is a relationship (with the owners), and if it becomes something, then I’m all for it. If it doesn’t, I’ll still be a fan of the new franchise."

Hahnemann: "They (SSFC) are doing everything right and eventually when Reading don’t want me any more and I get sick of driving on the wrong side of the road and buying petrol instead of gas then I might leave... I know a lot of people are really excited to be getting a team in the MLS in Seattle and I am sure that those same people are, like myself, very pleased with what we saw. This may make coming home much easier."

Obviously, having either one of these players, both veterans selected for the 2006 World Cup, would be incredible both from a playing and a marketing standpoint. The first thought would probably be to take whichever one we can get. Both of their teams, especially Keller's Fulham, are in danger of being relegated from the lucrative English Premier League, so that could be a factor as well. We'll be watching closely to see whether Fulham and Hahnemann's Reading are sent down here in the last few weeks of the EPL season.


Take a look at this

As much as we would love to take credit for this, we can't  - it was emailed to us, but we don't know who created the thing. If you know where it came from originally let us know and we'll give them props. 

Also, what do you think? Too 'out there,' or groovy and unique?


More 'superstar to Seattle' speculation

Talks about Thierry Henry have cooled off, for now, due in part to the enormous fee it would cost and the fact that clubs like Chelsea are potentially in the running to acquire his services. But the Sounders (we can call them that now, yay!) are still clearly going to be looking for a player of international quality to lead their team in 2009. With that said, here's a guy they may be looking at.... Juan Roman Riquelme.

Here's why. According to Telam, Argentina's official news agency, MLS has just recently offered 15 million dollars for the Argentine superstar (currently playing for Boca Juniors in his home country). Combine that information with Seattle's deep pockets, the recent comments about going after a big name if available, and the fact that Adrian Hanauer IS on his way to Argentina today or tomorrow, and this possibility seems like it has a chance.

Obviously, this has a long shot of actually happening. If it did, though... wow. Riquelme, unlike Henry, is in his prime, and is one of the best attacking midfielders in the world. We'll be keeping tabs on this as it (hopefully) develops.


To the haters

Ok, obviously not everyone is going to be thrilled with the new name and colors, although a large majority of Seattleites seem to be. We have no problem with that - everyone's opinion is valid. However, we do have a problem with those threatening to quit the club, saying that you dislike the name so much that you won't support the team.

Look, the name was decided by a vote. Almost half the people voting chose some variation of 'Sounders' as the preferred name. It was clearly the most popular choice. To make an analogy, if a political leader like the president is decided by popular vote, and someone you don't like is elected, there's really nothing you can do about it. You can gripe, sure, but at the end of the day the leader was chosen by the will of the people. The people threatening to abandon Seattle MLS are like the people who threaten to move to Canada if their choice for president isn't elected.

And hey, the club's sold over 14000 deposits for season tickets, and in all likelihood is going to sell out their entire first season. There's no shortage of fans who WILL support Sounders FC, so we probably won't miss any of you who refuse to support our new club.



We're not afraid to call it now - Seattle Sounders FC will enter MLS in 2009.

How do we know? Well, we've suspected it for around a month now, as we referenced in an earlier post. When the names to be voted upon were announced, we were confused - no mention of anything Sounders! At the time, the only available options to vote upon were Seattle Alliance, Seattle Republic and Seattle FC. They were registered trademarks and were also registered as websites by MLS Seattle. It seemed we were way off... but then the option to write in names was announced. And on March 31, last Monday, SeattleSoundersFC.net was registered by First and Goal (the operators of Qwest Field).

As of tonight, SeattleRepublic.net, SeattleAlliance.net and SeattleFC.net are all simply parked domain names. But SeattleSoundersFC.net gives us this message- "Coming Soon!
This site is under construction." Bingo.

Seattle Sounders FC. A combination of what were probably the two most popular choices. A combination of worldly and local tradition. We're pretty happy with the name. But don't let this stop you from watching the announcement at noon tomorrow (April 7), because we've yet to see our (undoubtedly splendid) new logo!


Who will we be supporting?

The biggest day in the short history of  Seattle MLS is almost here - the revealing of the team identity. Already known to be a fact is that the team colors will be green and blue, but Monday will give us our name and badge/logo/crest/thingy. 

As far as the voting goes, the clear most popular choices were Seattle FC and the write-in choice, Seattle Sounders. The official website has alluded to this as well. They've also said quite clearly that 'the most popular name wins,' but still... we wouldn't be surprised if the names were combined to reach the compromise of Seattle Sounders FC, the name we have suspected and predicted all along. One of these three will be the name - you can bet money on it.

Unfortunately, there probably isn't going to be any merchandise available yet for us all to get our hands on. Regardless, Monday will be a hugely exciting day, so make sure to check in at noon for the press conference!


3 things to watch for

1. San Jose Earthquakes at Los Angeles Galaxy, 7:30 April 3 on ESPN2. It's the return of San Jose to MLS, playing their first game since 2005. It's also the return of the best rivalry in the league, so for all of you who don't know much about MLS this is an excellent game to watch for a non-partisan fan.

2. Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait. NW Film Forum. Showing from April 4-6 at 7:15 and 9:15.
Located at 1515 12th Ave. at Pike on Capitol Hill, Seattle. We're posting this only because it looks like a ridiculously cool movie. It's basically following the legendary Zinedine Zidane over the course of a full match (with a zillion HD cameras and epic, somewhat haunting music). Unconvinced? Watch the trailer... and become convinced.

3. Unveiling of Seattle MLS name, badge, colors, 12pm April 7. Yeah, this is the interesting one. The unveiling is taking place at the Space Needle (sweet!) but unless you're a media person, you'll have to watch online at MLSinSeattle.com. We still think the name will end up being Seattle Sounders FC, but that's certainly not for sure. Should be exciting!