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Watching A Game At Starfire: A Survival Guide

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One of the biggest complaints about games at Stafire Sports Complex is that they are a pain to get to. As someone who has been to his fair share of events there, I understand your complaints. It's certainly not as accessible as CenturyLink Field, but I also think the problems are a bit overblown.

Watching games at Starfire is really an experience every Sounders fan should enjoy at least a few times. It really is like watching your favorite band at a small club, as opposed to a huge arena. You can learn to appreciate the athleticism and skill of the players on a whole new level. Players hang out to sign autographs after. It's pretty great, if you're into that whole intimate setting thing.

For those of you coming from south of Seattle, it's actually not that bad at all. It's located far enough west off 405 as to avoid much of the traffic snarl. Even if you're driving from Seattle, I think the problems getting there are a bit overblown, as carpooling should get you there in about 20 minutes.

Still, I get it. Especially if you've never been there, it can be quite challenging. With that in mind, I've put together a bit of a survival guide for attending tonight's game at Stafire Sports Complex.

Tickets

We've been told tickets are still available. Do yourself a favor and don't go all the way out there and expect to just pick them up anywhere near game time. If you really can't stomach the idea of using TicketMaster, get out to Starfire early.

While we're at it, I really suggest getting the more expensive, covered tickets if you have a choice. The benches are a bit more comfortable, you're shielded from the rain and you'll be near ECS, if that's your thing.

Parking

The easiest thing is to just get there early, suck it up and spend the money on parking in the official lot. But that's pretty commonsensical. Let's assume you either can't or won't get there early. The reality is that there's not a lot of free parking to be had without a sizable walk. But there are plenty of office parks in the area that offer parking at a reasonable rate. Pro tip: If you think you've stumbled across a free spot where no other Sounders fans are parking, there's a decent chance your car will be towed. In general, look for the crowds.

Alternatives

Drive to Southcenter Mall, bus to Starfire: There's a park-and-ride lot at the mall and the 150 and 140 buses take about 4 minutes to get to Starfire.

Drive to the Interurban park-and-ride, bus to Starfire: Again, the 150 bus takes about 4 minutes.

Bus from Westlake Center in downtown Seattle: It's about a 30-minute bus ride on the 150.

Bus from Northgate Park and Ride: At rush hour, it's estimated to take about 1 hour and 15 minutes and requires a transfer. The trip home is closer to an hour. But it does save you some hassle if you're coming from up north. You'd catch the 41 bus, transfer to the 150 at Sodo Busway, then do the reverse on the way home.

From Tacoma: You can actually catch the Sounder and get to Starfire by 6 p.m. as long as you're willing to do about 20 minutes of walking. The whole journey would take about an hour. To get home, though, you'd need to take a couple buses. You'd hop the 150 and head back to Seattle where you could then catch the 594 to Tacoma. Google says it would take about an hour-and-a-half.

Pre-funking

There's a bar across the street, the White Horse, but it's currently undergoing renovations (said reservations started months ago, nothing has changed). You could go to any number of places at the mall or even head over to Foster Golf Links down Interurban, but those aren't walking distance. The best option, honestly, is to deal with the crowds at Mad Pizza, the on-premises restaurant. It will be loaded with Sounders fans, but saves you the hassle of trying to figure anything out. Also keep in mind that there's a beer garden in the stadium. If you insist on waiting until you get to Starfire to get tickets, that's also your best bet to find some.