There will be no fog tonight. There will be tension that physically manifests itself within the stadium, both in the stands and on the pitch.
There are moments during the tornado season when the air turns green. Suddenly you find yourself swimming through air the color of an antique glass bottle. The world turns still, anticipating the tempest on the horizon. You taste the ozone and your skin tingles. Overhead the clouds swirl, an inky shale blue grey. Your heart races just a touch faster in your chest. You hear the rush of blood in your ears. The scent of grass and lingering leaves wafts through your brain. Greenage reminds you that you are alive and that in a moment you will be will soaked to the skin. Soon you will be bathed in sound and fury. Sitting at my computer this morning, I am reminded of the green days of my youth.
Every once in a while in sports, two quality teams meet in a game that matters. The teams are evenly matched and both enter the game expecting a battle and expecting to win. Neither team is cocky. Neither team is fearful. Both are confident and calm. Both swagger. As the game approaches, everyone can taste the build up.
Today is part of the promise of Champion's League play. Two of the best soccer teams from the Northern half of our Hemisphere are going to take the pitch tonight at CenturyLink Field. These are the games that define a player's or coach's career. These are the games that take the measure of a man. Tonight's game has the potential to define careers. The players know it. The coaches know it. They want to be measured.
Santos Laguna enters tonight's game backed by the strength of tradition. Mexican teams have owned this tournament and Santos is considered by many to be the top Mexican team competing this year. They are worthy of the accolades. They are a deep, attacking team that plays soccer with skill and daring. The core of their team has been playing together for a number of years. Their style is to play on the front foot and use their prowess to bury opponents. They are not liable to hunker down and try to win through defense. It isn't their way.
The Seattle Sounders enter the game with a technical attacking style of their own. The Sounders are as deep and balanced as any MLS squad. Their defense is solid. Their crowd will be in full voice. Their season is about to unfold and it holds all of the promise of their new FieldTurf. Their time is now.
This is the feast of Champion's League play. You can taste it in the air. Savor the moments of this day. Days like this are rare in sport. It is a day that must first be earned. As fans we should hold them close and embrace the spectacle. Gather the tightness in your chest, the lump in your throat, the tingling of your skin and let the anticipation build. Hold it in and carry it with you to the stands. Then when the game begins, cry havoc! Unleash the feeling in a torrent of Sounder fury and let it sweep the field. Turn the air Rave Green.
Savor the moment. This is the feast of Champion's League. Can you taste it?