Dear Sounder fans,
I salute you on a great season. Your support is critical to the success of the team and I will never stop appreciating the fans in Toronto over the weekend, the season filled with tifos, flags, faces painted green, voices heard and the celebrations winning the Western Conference. The story I want to share is one that includes my own self-reflection on the final game of the year. I know we did not perform up to our standard, and that hurts. I feel for the players who have worked so hard all year, have overcome adversity, and earned the right to play in a second-consecutive Cup final. I will think about what we as a staff and organization can do to help our boys win another MLS Cup.
Things were different from last year as we boarded the plane to fly back to Seattle. I was not looking forward to the long flight and the reality our season ended the way it had. The only thing that took some of the sting out of this loss was the reception we received by the fans who greeted us after the game in our hotel lobby and Sunday at Boeing Field. I barely noticed the faces of the people in the hotel lobby as I was too upset, the moment came too soon after the game, but their voices and words were appreciated. As the plane touched down after a long flight filled with thoughts of what might have been, I was still upset, but coming to grips with finally being home, spent emotionally after a long season. We knew that some fans were going to meet us on the return, but I was not ready for what happened – although I should never be surprised by how much you support your club. The fervor, energy, songs, smiles and well wishes from all who attended after such a painful loss was another moment which I will carry with me for a long time. There was one fan waving a massive flag, her voice strong and clear, standing off to our right as we stepped out of the terminal. She was setting the tempo for others around her, making it seem like there was only one voice, singing in support of a team who had just lost. I wondered in that moment if I could have done more to set the tempo for our team, and lead them to another Cup victory.
I will take this and use it as motivation to lead and set the tempo for each season I am here. You fans deserve that.