Most everyone I knows I was in DC over the last few days. I was there for one reason, to see Seattle Sounders FC play for the US Open Cup in RFK stadium. So much happened in the span of 24 hours I will try to recount it in all its glory.
September 2nd started with me on a plane, landing at National Airport around 1230am. A quick 10 minute cab ride over to the Capital Liaison Hotel and met up with Amy and Alex who had gotten into town about 2 hours before me (long story). We ordered some Pizza to tide us over till the morning and set off on the days journey. We ended up getting a few hours of sleep in there but were up at 8am getting ready to take on DC.
We found a Starbucks on the corner of the street we were staying on so we go some caffeine and set out for the day. We walked all the way to the Smithsonian Castle to get some more info for later in the trip. From there we moved on over to the Holocaust Museum for our depression of the morning (more on that in a later post). Left there and decided to hit the National Archives next which was a bit less depressing. Bout this time we were getting hungry so we headed back towards the hotel where we found the Dubliner Pub and grabbed some grub before a quick pit stop at the hotel.
Once we had a few minutes to rest up at the hotel we headed out to meet up with ECS (Emerald City Supporters) for the pre game meet up at RFD near China Town. We got there about quarter to 5 and the place was packed with a sea of blue and green (Pictures here) all singing and chanting and getting fired up for the game in a couple of hours. There was a small group of DCU fans that showed up at the bar but they decided they were out numbered and moved along. The people at RFD were great and let us pretty much take over the place. Things began to wrap up there as we hit the streets of DC to march to the match.
Lined up on 7th street moving to the Metro station to head to RFK we had a pretty large gathering chanting the whole way while people stopped and stared at us. A few people knew what was going on but most were in awe of the sight of a 100 + folks filling the sidewalks with scarfs, and singing. The singing happened all the way to the Metro and down the tunnel where the echo was awesome. Getting on the train was an experience as it was rush hour but we all got on. Of course there was a few DC fans on the train but it was normal back and forth between us and them. Getting off the train again was pretty loud (more on that further down) and we formed back up and headed out of the tunnel. As we got back into the sunlight of late afternoon we saw RFK and headed that way as a group and I am pretty sure that we got louder the closer to the stadium. As we rounded the corner to head to the gates we got about half way before we were “met” by our security detail. We were greeted and escorted to the stadium singing and chanting. This is where my story drifts a bit from most of the other ECS members there. We had to get our tickets from Players will call since they were purchased from the front office. It seems there was some issues with the location of our tickets. They knew we had tickets but they did not know where they were. This of course put is out front of will call for about 25 minutes or so in the heart of DCU fans. A few Sounders fans were also getting tickets and everyone left us alone so it was it was not too bad. March to the Match photos
Since we didn’t get to head into the Stadium with the rest of ECS and we had back packs we had to use gate A to get in. This was also fairly easy and nothing but nice things to say about the DC fans who we ran into. We of course looked for the $2 beer and hotdogs but the lines were 40 deep to get them so we ended up with $10 22 ounce corona’s and headed to our seats. We walked past our seats in the 300 level and proceeded to head up to the rafters to sit with the other ECS fans. I thought that they may have turned us down but there was no one up there except our security detail, a Washington Post reporter and ECS. We settled in for the game pre kick off by yelling, singing cheering and all the other stuff you do at a soccer game. It was about kick off time when our sections started to pogo (everyone jumping up and down) when Alex and I stopped and looked at each other with fright as we saw the upper deck flexing. I have not looked at our video yet to see if its there on tape but it scared the crap out of me. The first half both sides had their chances but it looked as if we wanted to win. Hard running and hard playing lead to some chances that the DCU keeper (more on that a bit further down) came up HUGE. Both teams headed to the locker rooms with a 0-0 draw.
During the first half of play you could see the La Barra Brava and the DCU supporters going to town in the lower bowl shaking the stadium as well. They were all they promised to be. Looking around the rest of the lower bowl though, there was a bunch of empty seats. It sure didnt feel like 17k + they announced. Not sure if that was tickets sold or not but it seemed lower then that in the place.
Right as the second half began a guy in a La Barra Brava jersey came up to the ECS section with a girl with a Sounders Scarf. Not sure to many people saw him but he was as asked to head on out which he thought was move to the other side of the bleachers. We told him to take off his shirt so he did and all was right with the world. Back to the game….
The second half started off with a bang much like the first. Lots of energy from both teams but you could see Seattle was about ready to pop when in the 66 minute changed the game…..This is when the Sounders score a goal which was followed by a flurry of activity on the far side of the field. Most of it, I could not see until I got a text message from a friend saying it should be a straight red….half a second later it was a straight red to Josh Wicks for stomping on Montero post goal. Montero was carried off the field but he came back on until the 76 min. There was some more back and forth ball with 12 minutes or so to go and then came the 85th Minute in which the whole of the upper deck began to shake and roll again as Le Toux puts one across the goal and who was on the other end of it? None other then Roger…who put away another USOC goal! Now all we had to do is hold on and make it to the end!
Things got a bit tricky though as the 88th min brought a goal from DCU which is what none of us wanted but it happened. The 90th min came and the 4th official put up 5 minutes and just about every sounders fan watching around the world started to hold their breath. I am pretty sure that was the longest 5 minutes I have experienced in a long long time. Once that whistle blew we all knew it was our trophy. The team was on the field jumping, we were all jumping. I teared up a little bit. Our boys did it. They did something that DCU never thought would happen, we came to their house and took their trophy. The same trophy they just spent a month talking about winning.
While we were jumping around the whole team came to our corner and gave us a bow then they went and got the trophy and brought it over to us! During this whole time I didn’t realize that most of the lower bowl was empty…..It was like a ghost town when I looked around! There were a few Barra Brava still lingering but everyone else that was not in blue or green was gone. Security held us up for a bit before they walked us out and half way down the road to the Metro where we were met by a few DCU fans and what seemed like the DC Swat team. I guess Metro called them after we came through the first time. Most of the fans were really cool but there were a few that did not like the fact we won. The guy holding up the we win trophies sign after they just lost was kinda funny.
While we were on the train there were 2 DCU fans sitting next to us. They were pretty cool and we gave them a little crap but nothing more. We all walked with giggling smiles all the way to RFD where we took the place over again until they closed the doors.
Amy, Alex and I then headed back to the Hotel for a well deserved sleep.
Post Game Picture of Alex, Amy and myself