Saturday, March 28, 2009

The Return of the Sounders

The MLS has a new team this season with Seattle Sounders returning to big time football in the States. The city was given a franchise for this season and the fans voted on bringing back the name of the team that did them proud in the days of the NASL in the 70's and 80's.

Back in the days of the NASL the Sounders averaged 20,000 and they believe that they can easily beat that this time around. Back then the club was a refuge for British players looking for a last pay day. Scot Jimmy Gabriel managed the club from 1976 to 1979 and in 1976 Geoff Hurst scored 8 goals for the club. In this year the Sounders lost in the final to Pele's New York Cosmos. The assistant manager was another Brit, it was Harry Redknapp who launched his managerial career as Gabriel's number 2 ( good to see he is still acting like a number 2 then).

By 1980 ex Derby player Alan Hinton had taken over and the club still had a very British feel to it. In 1982 they reached the final again and lost to the Cosmos agai. However attendances had dropped to less thn 13,000 and ex Gridiron player Bruce Anderson stepped into take over and rid the club of the British influence that he really hated. He'll probably not be too impressed that the club have organised a pub crawl for the fans on March 31st. Whatever next a fish and chips night?

In 1983 the NASL came to an end and so did the Sounders. They were later reborn in 1994 and played in the US League first division up until last year.

This year sees them take their place amongst the elite and they won their first game in a friendly against LA Galaxy and beat New York Redbulls 3-0 in their first league game.

They seems to have a financially secure future with Xbox and Microsoft amongst their backers. Drew Carey is the fanclub coordinator.

They get their name from Paget Sound and their shirts are supposedly the colour of the water, although they look more like a toxic green to me. There aren't so many foreigners in the team now due to the strict wage structure with only one player being able to break it. For the Sounders this player is ex Swedish and Arsenal midfielder, the somewhat accident prone Freddy Ljunberg.

Higlights from the game with New York Redbulls

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