There are likely to be a lot more empty seats than full ones tonight at CenturyLink Field, when the Sounders open group play in CONCACAF Champions League against Caledonia AIA of Trinidad.
Which I can hardly understand. I love Champions League. I love learning about clubs I’ve hardly (sometimes never) heard of before: their histories, stadiums, kits and crests. I love the international aspect of soccer. I love the idea that if Martians came down and asked us Earthlings what sport we like, the most common answer around the globe would be soccer.
So, I also loved the response from Sounders keeper Michael Gspurning yesterday, when he was asked about his first CCL experience:
“It’s one of the great things that I’m very interested in and excited for. Of course, you play against the big names and the huge teams of Mexico. But also the other teams. I was sitting in Europe and thinking, ‘Hey, maybe you go to Costa Rica or Trinidad somewhere. Maybe you play on pitched you never have seen before.’ But this is also a side of soccer that is a part that I want to see. I know that not everything will be perfect, maybe, on the away games: long trips and everything. But it’s also part of soccer for what I was dreaming as a child. It’s a great experience to go to these countries and see the different style. It’s a target to show them that American soccer is better than the rest of the continent.“