Nicholas Sarysz, Staff Writer
It was a typical rainy afternoon in Seattle, with distant roars being heard miles deep into the SoDo district of Seattle. Fans began flooding out from CenturyLink Field, filling King Street with a sea of blue and powerful waves of emotion. This is what the scene in Seattle would have been like if the Seahawks had played on Sunday. What happened instead was the Seattle Sounders trampling Toronto FC for the title of 2019 Major League Soccer (MLS) Champion, and the streets were silent.
The Sounders are known for having one of the strongest fanbases in the league, so why such a low-energy atmosphere in town after the game? Almost every single fan stayed inside the stadium. This was the third meeting in four years between the teams in an MLS Cup Final. Seattle finished 1-1 in their first two championship matchups, which were played in Toronto in 2016 and 2017.
The energetic atmosphere came before the game had started, when the fans marched through downtown, leading up to unified chants booming from the stadium just minutes before kickoff. The Seattle crowd, which filled every seat in the stadium, was not only anxious for the matchup ahead, but for the Sounders to be presented the MLS cup in their very own stadium.
The first half of play provided little excitement for the spectators, as the score remained 0-0 until the 57th minute. Seattle’s Kelvin Leerdam struck first, causing an uproar that could be heard by anyone within a mile radius of the stadium. From then on, Seattle took control of the game. Despite only having possession for 34 percent of the game, Seattle built up a 3-0 lead by the end of 90th minute of the match. Toronto FC’s Jozy Altidore managed a header in added time, yet made little difference in the final outcome, as referee Allen Chapman signaled the end of the game just two minutes afterwards.
No one flooded out of the stadium in emotional celebration. Every fan stayed and watched as the Sounders were presented their second championship trophy in the last four years. Most of the crowd remained in the stadium for hours afterwards. At the time the game ended, I decided to sit at the Starbucks on 5th Avenue, with direct view of the stadium. While sitting, I did not see a single Seattle Sounders fan leave the stadium or its parking lot for over half an hour after the game’s completion.
Two hours after the Sounders were crowned champions, there were still fans walking out of the stadium in large groups. One fan made his way into Starbucks and ended up sitting at the same window side table I had been for hours before hand. I decided to ask him about his experience at the game.
“I was surrounded by over 69,000 people who care about this team just as much as I do. It was the loudest soccer atmosphere in the world. Afterwards, most of us [fans] either went to pioneer square or stayed in the stadium to celebrate. We could walk away with pride, causing earthquakes during the game so no crazy celebration was needed afterwards. There are many more championships to come in the near future, and that is the most exciting part.”
What the fan had said was exactly correct. After their dominant championship win, the Seattle Sounders have the makings of a dynasty.