( Or 'How much impact this game had on me mentally'. )
My wife and I arrived at the stadium a full hour and a half ahead of the match. As, honestly, we always do. We like to be there to get something to chew on, something to chug down, and watch the lads practice. This day was no different. Food was gobbled, drinks were guzzled, and we watched both teams warm up.
While watching the warm-up and practice, we realized that the stadium was going to overwhelmingly be Peru-fan-filled. The stadium's bowl was a sea of red and white, speckled with yellow. And in a few very tiny places, we'd see the blue of Haiti. The fans were chanting "Pay Rue!" over and over... during the practice. I can honestly say that no Sounders game has ever had that volume of chant just during the pre-game warm up. (I'll caveat that by adding, "in the 6 years I've been a STH.")
As the game got under way, I realized something astounding, and shared it with my wife, and gave a poke to my non-sportsball-watching friends on the Facebook:
This match, this tournament, is truly something special. This is no mere soccer tournament, and these are no mere soccer games. This is History, live and up close, and we are in it.
- The Copa America Centenario is the 100th anniversary of the tournament. (That's the first and last time that can be said.
- This is the first time the tournament has been held _outside_ of South America. (First time that can be said.)
- This is the first time the tournament has been held in the USA. (First time that can be said.)
- Haiti and Peru are playing, in a professional, non-friendly, tournament in Seattle. (Correct me if I'm wrong... but... First time that's been said!)
Also, Peru are small, fast, and "Holy God!" speedy. Haiti are giants, and their back line have shoes with ball magnets on them. Watching the match made me realize just how severely outclassed some of the MLS teams are by our neighbors in the world of soccer. If it weren't for an epic diving header, not a single ball would have made it through Haiti's back line.