David Can’t Beat Goliath

Overcoming a near-disastrous start, the Sounders catch fire down the stretch and reach Soccer Bowl for the first time. There, despite being huge underdogs to the Cosmos of Pele´, Franz Beckenbauer, Carlos Alberto and Giorgio Chinaglia, Seattle battles and nearly nips the tying goal in the final minutes before falling, 2-1.

Also reaching a national final and finishing runner-up is Seattle Pacific. The Falcons take second for the third time in four years, this time to Alabama A&M, 2-1.

Most of the SPU players hail from in-state, and the Sounders’ Jimmy McAlister becomes an overnight sensation. McAlister, 20, wins a starting job at left back, then is named NASL Rookie of the Year and, soon after, become the first Washington native to earn a U.S. National Team cap.

The youth soccer explosion continues unabated, jumping 41 percent, to 46,874. However there is growing friction between the clubs and high school programs, whose players face conflicts in play and training.

Women’s soccer begins to get sponsorship at the collegiate level. Five years since the Title XI ruling, Whitman College is the first to be granted varsity status. Meanwhile, club programs are initiated at Seattle Pacific, Washington, Washington State and Western Washington.

Season Record
14-12 (14-10-2), 3rd NASL West, NASL runners-up
Coach
Jimmy Gabriel (1st year)
Best XI
Mike England, Mel Machin (1st team)
Top Scorer
Micky Cave (12 goals)
State Men's Champion
Ghirardelli d Tacoma Hygrade, 4-3
State Knockout Cup
Mueller Barons d Ghirardelli, 2-2 (penalty kicks)
Men's Collegiate Postseason
Seattle Pacific, D2 runner-up
NCSC Women's Champion
Western Washington
NWAC Men's Champion
Skagit Valley d Edmonds, 1-0
Sounders Cup Winner
Washington
Boys Regional Champion
Tacoma Kickers (U16)
WIAA Boys Champion
Bellevue d Edmonds, 3-2 OT
President
Karl-Heinz Schreiber
Member Associations
19
Players
46,784 (b: 31,144 g: 12,640)
Largest Attendance
56,256, Kingdome, Sounders v Los Angeles, playoff

1977: David Can’t Beat Goliath

A late-season surge sends Seattle to Soccer Bowl and a meeting with Pele´ and the might Cosmos, where they come up just short.

Newport Girls Go Out Winners
February 19, 1977

Newport Bombers win fifth straight state title, this time as U19 girls, with 6-5 double overtime win (after trailing 5-3 with 2 minutes to go) over Highline Dirty Dozen at Renton Stadium.

Vaughn is UW Scoring King
November 16, 1977

Dan Vaughn completes his career as Washington’s scoring leader, getting his 16th of the year and 52nd overall to open the 4-1 victory over Seattle University at Husky Stadium.

Barons Go the Distance
April 10, 1977

Mueller Barons win the State Challenge Cup over Ghirardelli following an 11-round penalty kick tiebreaker at Memorial Stadium. Ghirardelli erases a 2-0 halftime deficit on goals by Kit Zell and Dave Ellis. Barons had gone ahead through Kelly Gordon and Tim Allen. Ed Tonkin scores the decisive penalty.

Homegrown Talent Reaps Reward
August 16, 1977

Seattle native Jimmy McAlister, 20, is voted NASL Rookie of the Year. McAlister, who grew up in West Seattle and attended Kennedy High School, was also named to the NASL all-star third team. “I didn’t come out of college like the No. 1 draft choices. I just came out of high school. Gabriel and Bobby Howe really put me in over my head, but they had confidence in me,” said McAlister.

Ord Nets First Hat Trick
July 27, 1977

Tommy Ord scores Sounders’ historic first hat trick in 4-1 win over Connecticut Bicentennials at New Haven’s Yale Bowl. All three goals from less than 6 yards out. Ord had been acquired from Vancouver only eight days earlier.

Gabriel Shows the Way
April 30, 1977

Down 2-0 to Portland at home and winless in the first three games, Sounders coach Jimmy Gabriel inserts himself into the game in the second half, sparking a three-goal fight back. Paul Crossley ties it and David Butler scores twice, netting the winner in the 86th minute.

Sounders Punch Ticket to Final
August 25, 1977

Seattle gets a 13th minute header from Jocky Scott, and Adrian Webster marks out L.A. star George Best as the Sounders defeat the Aztecs, 1-0, before a raucous crowd of 56,256 to advance to Soccer Bowl. A potential late equalizer by Des Backos bounces behind goal line but is ruled out.It is the fifth straight win in the playoffs.

McAlister Earns First Cap
September 15, 1977

Jimmy McAlister becomes the first Washington native to earn a cap for the U.S. National Team. Fresh from being named NASL Rookie of the Year, McAlister, 20, comes on as a substitute in 2-1 win over El Salvador in San Salvador.

Out of Order in Rochester
July 30, 1977

Three red cards – players on each side as well as the Lancers’ trainer – and eight yellows are issued by referee Henry Landauer in Seattle’s 2-1 loss at Rochester. Dave Gillett, the Sounders’ ejection, needed a security escort past 50 belligerent fans. The game was halted for 10 minutes to restore order after Gillett and the Lancers’ Ibrahim Silva scuffled, before Mel Machin decked Silva. Adrian Webster had been stretchered off with a knee injury beforehand. A total of 55 fouls were whistled.

Tacoma Hosts U16 Tournament
August 19, 1977

Tacoma’s Franklin Pierce Stadium hosts North American Youth Championships for U16 boys. KCPQ airs nine hours of same-day telecasts with Bob Robertson delivering play-by-play. Virginia won the U.S. tournament and Ontario the Canadian. The Tacoma Kickers represent Washington and got four tournament goals from Chris Hellenkamp.

Seattle Pacific Comeback Falls Short
December 3, 1977

A flurry of eight shots in the final minutes does not produce the game-tying goal, and SPU succumbed to top-ranked Alabama A&M, 2-1, in the NCAA Division II championship game in Miami. The Bulldogs go in front, 2-nil, on deflection and a rebound. Servando Rivera’s penalty in the 82nd minute queued the late rally. Earlier, the Falcons miss a penalty attempt. Scott Chase is named the game’s defensive MVP.

TV Delay, Delay, Delay
July 10, 1977

TVS, which syndicates NASL national telecasts, instructs KIRO 7 to delay broadcast of the Sounders-Cosmos game for one week. Short of a sellout, crowd of 41,720 sees Seattle beat Pele´, Franz Beckenbauer & Co., 1-0. KIRO, which argued for an 11-hour delay, opts not to show week-old replay.

Falcons Advance to NCAA Final
December 2, 1977

Todd Schilperoort’s goal in the third overtime period gives Seattle Pacific a 2-1 win over Wisconsin Green Bay in the NCAA semifinal in Miami. Marty Shaw had saved a penalty shortly after Green Bay canceled out Servando Rivera’s opener.

David Can't Beat Goliath
August 28, 1977

In the final competitive game for legendary Pele´, the star-studded New York Cosmos defeat the underdog Sounders, 2:1, before a Portland record crowd of 35,548 in Soccer Bowl. Seattle’s tying goal by Tommy Ord is scored while the TVS broadcast is in commercial break. Steve Buttle bits the post with 7 minutes left after earlier equalizing attempts by Mike England and Dave Gillett hit the post and are saved, respectively. “David did not beat Goliath,” writes The Times.

We have no super names or anything like that. Some of our players are very, very young, and they gotta come through and be tremendous. I just thought we played a better game than they did….We’re sorry. We lost it. But we gave it everything we got.
Jimmy Gabriel, Sounders coach, after Sounders fall to Cosmos, 2-1
“We have eight football teams in Midway and 39 soccer teams. All they need is shoes and a $10 fee for uniforms. Everything else is volunteer.”
Highline area youth coach
He has good technique. He does everything we ask of him and more. He’s a blue-chip bet.
Jimmy Gabriel, Sounders coach, on his youngest signing, Eddie Krueger
New York has got $3 million players and we don’t have anything like that. We’re just down to earth.
Sounders fan after Soccer Bowl loss to Cosmos
He’s only the greatest player who ever played. I asked him right before the end of the game and he said I could have it. If I ever have any kids I’ll give it to them.
Jimmy McAlister, Sounders homegrown rookie defender on Pele´giving his jersey following his final competitive match
Our fans are a great advantage to us. They’re like magic. But for players like George Best our stadium and our fans lift them a bit. And that can be a disadvantage for us.
Jimmy Gabriel, Sounders coach, about huge crowd expected for NASL semifinal
If ever that concrete lid was going to crumble, it would have last night as 56,256 devotees of the Sounders cheered them…On the basis of decibels expended per goals scored, it must have been a world-record din.
Seattle Times columnist Georg Myers on crowd's effect on Seattle-Los Angeles semifinal
On this Day in History