As you know, we are season ticket holders and avid supporters of our Major League Soccer team, Seattle Sounders FC. But not all soccer action in this city is MLS. Seattle has been hosting some of the group stages and quarter finals of the COPA America Centenario, an international tournament for national teams of South and Central America, with the USA invited to participate in this centennial year.
Monday of this week about 45,000 international fans came to our stadium to watch one of the world's premier teams, Argentina, and especially their star, Lionel Messi, considered to be the best player in the world.
Just before that match, the USA won their group stage and qualified for the quarter finals, the match to be played on Thursday in Seattle! These tickets are not cheap, and for some there was a dilemma of which game to go to. Not having planned to go to the Argentina match, we hopped on line to secure tickets to the USA match.
On Thursday afternoon, we dressed for the match.
We circled the lot waiting for a parking slot at the Link station, and then rode the rails into the city.
We got off at our usual stop, Pioneer Square Station, picked up some sandwiches at a nearby Subway, and sat in Occidental Park to eat and enjoy people watching. It looked like the 4th of July, only crazier.
Of course we joined the American Outlaws in the march to the match.
Brave Ecuadorian supporters boasted of their team's best.
USA fans proudly wore their colors, sometimes strangely.
From the ramp on the way to our 200 level seats, we watched soccer fanatics stream in.
The sky was blue and the air electric as the colorful fans slowly filled the stadium.
The teams marched out.
The anthems played, and there was a moment of silence for the mass shooting in Orlando. Then the American Outlaws unfurled their tifo. From the side it is hard to read the letters USA in blue.
The game was competitive and intense, and the crowd kept up the singing and chanting. Twice the stadium erupted as the USA scored. Once we could hear our Ecuadorian neighbors celebrate their goal.
At the end, everyone was exhausted, but the USA team and supporters were jubilantly so.
Many of us lingered to enjoy the celebration. We left the stadium as the sun was setting.
And all 49,000 of us spilled out into the city.
And now you know what it's like to go to a big game in Seattle, and you didn't even have to buy a ticket!