2010 – Around the World and Close to Home
Thirty-three Chilean miners are rescued after being trapped 68 days underground, an Icelandic volcano erupts and the resulting ash plume cancels and disrupts air travel throughout northern and central Europe, a 7.0 earthquakes devastates Haiti, causing an estimated 100,000 fatalities, and the Winter Olympics are held in Vancouver, B.C. In Washington, Fort Lewis and McChord Air Force Base merge to create Joint Base Lewis-McChord, which. if it was a city, it would be the state’s seventh-largest Mariners legend Ken Griffey Jr. abruptly retires after 21 years in the majors, and Seattle Storm wins its second WNBA title.
A Cup Runneth Over
If there’s an identifiable energizing element, a catalyst to the initial on-field success of Sounders FC, it’s the Cup. History is being written in these formative years, and because of the club’s success on the field, in the community and a stadium teeming with roaring supporters, it promises to be a history which will long stand the test of time.
The Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup is more commonly known as the Open Cup, and it is the prize presented to the winner of the nation’s oldest sporting team tournament. Dating to 1914, the tournament is open to all amateur and professional clubs throughout the country. And two years into its MLS era, there are two such trophies residing in Seattle. In 2010, the guys wearing Rave Green become the first team in 27 years to repeat as Open Cup champion. It could be argued that the Cup has jump-started late-season runs for the playoffs, and it certainly gives the club access to international play, with automatic qualification to the Concacaf Champions League.
“I tell our players all the time that we want to be unique we want to make history,” says head coach Sigi Schmid. “Now we’ve become the first MLS expansion team to win trophies in each of our first two years, and the first to qualify for the Champions League in each of our first two opportunities. That’s unique, and no one can take that away from us.”
“It’s part of our DNA,” owner and general manager Adrian Hanauer says. “Between me, Sigi and the staff, we are all so competitive that we want to win every tournament, every competition, every cup.”
Again in 2010, the Cup proves an elixir. Sounders FC struggles mightily, winning only four times in the first half of the regular season. Two days after losing its third straight league game, Seattle hosts the L.A. Galaxy in the Cup quarterfinals, and wins, 2-0. That signals the start of a sensational run across all competitions. The Rave Green catches fire, going 6-0-3 in nine games. The Sounders lose only twice during the second half of the MLS schedule. While the Cup energizes Seattle, the Sounders are also pumping vivacity and new spirit into the competition itself.
Not since the early days of the Hoover Administration has such fervor surrounded a Cup Final. No sooner is Seattle chosen to host and tickets are going fast. Two weeks before the game, the attendance record of 21,583, set in 1929 in Brooklyn, has fallen. By matchday, it’s obliterated. A passionately partisan crowd of 31,311 urges the Sounders to come from behind, 2-1, on a pair of Sanna Nyassi goals. The second brings on bedlam.
“That’s the loudest I’ve heard this place,” says Schmid after the game. “A lot of times you see celebrations at the end of the game where the stadium is half empty. Everyone was there for the Cup presentation. I can’t say enough about our fans. They’re just fantastic.”
The year ends, though, on a sour note. A bid to host the 2022 World Cup in the United States is defeated by Qatar. Qatar becomes the first Arab country to serve as World Cup host, however due to extreme summer heat, FIFA later moves the competition to winter. Seattle’s Qwest Field is among the venues mentioned prominently positioned in the U.S. bid. Husky Stadium had been a potential venue for bids for the 1986 and ’94 World Cups.