Support Your Club, Not Your Country

By SoundersNerd July 3, 2009

It was a hell of a Wednesday all around. For starters, there was Publicola's party at Rob Roy. Then, soccer superstar Alexi Lalas explained the game to Stephen Colbert on Comedy Central. And topping it all off: Seattle's 2-1 victory over Portland in the US Open Cup.

The match was preceded by an insane amount of media hype. Fer chrissakes, this wasn't even a MLS match, and it got previewed in the Vancouver Columbian, the Olympian,
and the Portland Mercury.

Turns out the hype was justified: with 16,000-plus people packed into Portland's PGE Park—the Sounders' first sellout crowd—attendance at Wednesday's game was greater than the average attendance of all but three MLS teams.

As widely predicted, it was brutal. In the 59th minute, Sanna Nyassi caught one of those Stumpies midchest and ten feet from the ball in a yellow-carded Jean-Claude Van Damme-inspired roundhouse back kick.

Roger Levesque gave the Timbers one more reason to hate him passionately with a diving header in the 49th second.

The sell-out crowd, the heavy pre-game media, and the fact that I found the game on at the chichi sushi place across the street from Rob Roy all bode extremely well for the Sounders and soccer in general. This is how a real football culture is born. Maybe in the future we'll even have trainloads of Stumpies rioting in Pioneer Square.

The Sounders take a break before next Wednesday's Open Cup quarterfinals against Kansas City. In the meantime, the US National team comes to town to renew the debate of supporting your club vs. supporting your country.

I fall firmly on the side of supporting your club. Not only does the CONCACAF (Confederation of North, Central American, and Caribbean Association Football) Gold Cup rob many MLS clubs of top players (the Sounders are losing Brad Evans to the US and Tyrone Marshall to Jamaica) but the tournament does nothing to develop the national team.

One major reason the US fairs so poorly on the global stage is that getting there is a cakewalk. With the exception of Mexico, which is surprisingly weak this year, most of the teams have little experience on the international stage. For example, the tournament kicks off here on July 4 with the US vs. Grenada at Qwest Field—Grenada's first major international competition.

Seattle's soccer fever doesn't seem to be spilling over to the national team; though they just added Jozy Altidore and Ricardo Clark to the roster. It would be nice to see them play, but not in a game that's just destined to make us look like jerks.
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