As endorsements go, this one from U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati sounded a bit lukewarm. ESPNFC.com got Gulati on the record about Seattle as a future World Cup qualifier venue, as this debut as a qualifier site has become such a front burner subject.
It’s all a bit ironic, as the expected final ticket sales of 40,000 or so represents a healthy crowd for one of these matches, especially at ticket prices that started at $50. But this is Seattle, where a promoter or general manager can generally fill about 10,000 seats just thinking about putting on a match.
U.S. officials were certainly hoping for something closer to last week’s MLS sales bonanza, an enthralling Cascadia Cup contest seen by more than 53,000. (The detrimental effect of two big matches appearing so close together wasn’t lost on Gulati, who told ESPN’s Doug McIntyre that the optimum dates needed to be sacrificed to get a match into the Pacific Northwest.)
So … all the talk over a bad field, plus a head count that’s turning out to be bit of a bummer … it’s no wonder we get something like this:
It’s too early to say. Winning makes a big difference — if we’re successful and have 40,000 people, then it will have been a successful event. If the result doesn’t go our way, that leaves a bad taste in everyone’s mouth.”