A few days ago, Stevie D wondered if the Seattle Sounders and CenturyLink Field were getting closer to hosting a United States national team game. He has his reasons: some convoluted but positive words from general manager Adrian Hanauer; the sense that (sorry Portland!) Seattle is the best soccer city in the country; the general sentiment that CenturyLink deserves a game.
It seems that others agree. Seattle is “in the mix” for one of the five World Cup qualification matches during the upcoming Hexagonal.
Except that I’m not sure it is. “In the mix,” perhaps, but put it on the “doubtful” list. There are simply too many negatives: the distance, the turf, the weather, etc. Too many variables for a too important game.
Steve suggests that a Gold Cup game will find its way to Seattle, and I’m inclined to agree. But I think it will be more than that. I think it’s the Gold Cup semifinals. (They were both played in Houston’s Reliant Stadium in 2011.)
A couple months ago I attended a media summit in Portland featuring Hanauer and Timbers owner Merritt Paulson. The prospect of having the USMNT play in Seattle came up, and the Sounders GM addressed the problem. The gist of his remarks were something along the lines of “It’s really a pain to put in turf. We aren’t against hosting the team, but it’s not our highest priority and we’ll only do so if it makes financial sense.”
Hosting an early round game doesn’t make financial sense. Furthermore, playing an opening round game against an inferior opponent isn’t the best idea in a huge stadium, even one which boasts such an impressive and passionate fanbase. (See: 25,000 in Ford Field for U.S.-Canada in 2011.) The Gold Cup final will almost certainly be in the Rose Bowl, but it would be great to reward the people of the Pacific Northwest with the semifinals.
Bonus: it’s not that far a flight to Los Angeles for the last match.
That logic is infallible, right?