The World's Game came back to Seattle in 2009, but it is America's Game that now arrives upon the Puget Sound with the arrival of the United States Men's National Team. Here they will play in front of over 36,000 people, which only a few years ago was more than what this area's club team averaged on a per-game basis. For the first time in a long while, the best talent in America will come together for a World Cup Qualifier in the Northwest.
There are some roster notes already. Panama will be without FC Dallas star Blas Perez and the States without Jermaine Jones (Aka He of the Snow Fro). Brad Evans, barring something insane, will get the start at right back. otherwise, fans will need to read the tea leaves (or player/coach quotes) to see who plays where and what. For all we know, Jimi Hendrix will be at forward (though it is looking increasingly unlikely). For strategy concerns, let us turn to MLSsoccer.com, where the positives and negatives of the Jamaica match are broken down. There's some concern about fitness after flying across a continent and only getting two rest days before the match, but Klinsmann felt that having a game in Seattle was worth the difficulties.
In anticipation of Tuesday, Eddie Johnson was honored(?) by throwing out the first pitch at the Seattle Mariners game yesterday, after Russell Wilson did the same on Saturday and before Felix Hernandez wrapped up the game (a 2-1 loss) to make for a trio of Seattle sports icons taking the mound at the ballpark. Johnson was joined by USMNT mates Clint Dempsey and Tim Howard. While he didn't throw 98 miles per hour like Wilson reportedly did, he still got a good throw in there with what seemed to be an appreciative crowd. With Graham Zusi out, Johnson may get the opportunity to start on the flanks.
If you're going to the match, you'll not only be receiving a free commemorative scarf, but will also have the opportunity to buy this match-exclusive(ish) poster. Designed by a local artist, the art was shown at a party on Friday, before going on sale in stadium and online this week.
The US-Panama game will be the culmination of a great week of professional Soccer in and around Seattle, which may see as many as 100,000 fans hit the turnstiles. The 53,000 for the Sounders helped pull the number back up to Liverpool territory (though the Reds look to be moving those posts with an expanded stadium soon) and over 36,000 are expected on Tuesday (up to 42,000). When you include Sounders Academy games and a couple thousand at last night's Reign match, it'll be a close thing. Numbers like 53,000 get people talking, even Canadian newspapers more interested in what those figures mean for hockey in Seattle. OH Canada.
Just for the heck of it, I'm going to throw a little bit of MLS news in here. Diego Valeri has been a big part of the Porter-era Timbers, but now there is some consternation as an Italian side wants to buy his rights from Athletico Lanus. Soccer rules are weird. Additionally, there is a great article about building an MLS stadium, but it is NOT out of New England, New York, Miami, Orlando, Minneapolis, or Atlanta. This time, it is LA, where Chivas is looking to get a home of their own near the Coliseum.
To close: I don't know what kind of day you might be having, but either way, looking at the MLS standings will make you feel good. Unless you're not a Sounders fan. Then it might not be a fun browse.