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Can we talk about this ‘USMNT in Seattle’ thing for a second?

Dec 20, 2012, 4:00 PM EDT

CenturyLink Field

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?

  1. charliej11 - Dec 20, 2012 at 4:47 PM

    I could go on and on and on and on, but there really is no need.

    Seattle should have a WCup qualifier. Period.

  2. carella211 - Dec 20, 2012 at 5:43 PM

    Gold Cup? NO THANK YOU!! Not interested in 2nd rate games in a 2nd rate tournament. Screw US Soccer!!

  3. dhagentj - Dec 20, 2012 at 8:10 PM

    Gold Cup games were hosted in Seattle back in 2009. They weren’t successful, even with a Sounder (Brad Evans) on the roster. The general sentiment seems to be that people are tired of getting passed over for big time games up here, and that no one is going to come out for the spare bone US Soccer might throw this way. Kind of a “Qualifier, or nothing” angle. And who can blame the area, after the number of times it has been passed over?

  4. corgster - Dec 20, 2012 at 8:46 PM

    Did you here the time Portugal complained they had to play on artificial turf in Russia for a Euro qualifier? No, me neither.

  5. jelliot1978 - Dec 20, 2012 at 9:03 PM

    While the city of Seattle and its fans are deserving of an important match the field is the cause of the this not happening. If the owner isn’t interested fully and does what it takes then I just don’t see it. I would love for a match to be played in Philly but I know there are other cities in the mix as well. While I would prefer it to be it at PPL the Linc has a much larger capacity if they felt the need. I am most certainly not believing Philly deserves it more because we don’t but we have the highly preferred grass pitch. If it is winter time our chances go down as well.

  6. ndnut - Dec 21, 2012 at 12:06 AM

    So they are willing to put in grass for a pointless friendly against Chelsea but not for a Nat’l Team WC Qualifier? What’s up with that? Also, is Safeco Field (baseball stadium right next to the Clink) completely out of the question?

    • charliej11 - Dec 21, 2012 at 10:30 AM

      The CLink was designed for soccer ( even supposed to be grass ).

      Safeco was designed for bad baseball.

  7. seaskipt - Dec 21, 2012 at 12:22 PM

    For all of those who say travel to the West Coast is too far for matches during the European season, I would like to point out that the flight time from London to Seattle (9h 35m) is less than from London to Miami (9h 45m). It is similar from Germany, home of half the USMNT. Frankfurt to Miami (10h 15m) is twenty mintues more than Frankfurt to Seattle (10h 35m).

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