The 2019 MLS Cup Champions Seattle Sounders FC are opening the 2020 season on March 1 with a match against Chicago Fire FC. If you’ve got championship fever and are looking to join the ranks of the Sounders faithful, here are seven things to make you feel like you’ve been there since the beginning.
1: Don’t miss the March to the Match.
If you want to get the entire experience of a Sounders game, don’t miss the March to the Match. It’s been a Sounders tradition since 2005 and is now considered a quintessential part of pregame festivities. Fans gather around 90 minutes prior to kickoff in Pioneer Square’s Occidental Park and walk en masse the three blocks to CenturyLink Field, singing and chanting the entire way. Before heading to your seat, go score off of the Value Menu. On the way to your seat, you can get $2 popcorn, $5 domestic beer, $7 craft beer or $7 wine at select concessions.
2: Participate in the cheers.
When Heather Smith and her husband attended their first match in 2015, she says the look on her face must have outed her to more seasoned fans. “Some poor soul could tell we were new and was like here, have a song card,” she says. Now luckily the ECS website has a PDF version that’s easily downloadable, giving you the lyrics for everything from “Take ’em All” to “The Blue and the Green.” Sure, there are a few choice chants that aren’t included, but you’ll know the words to “Build a Bonfire” in no time. So go ahead and sing along; it’s a great way to be a part of the experience.
3: Grab a scarf.
Team scarves have been a thing since 1934. Legend has it an Arsenal fan was the first to don a specialty scarf. Fast forward to the Sounders first season when 22,000 season ticket members were given scarves and “Scarf Seattle” was born. Grab yours and be sure to hoist it high above your head just before the first kick. This “Scarves Up” tradition takes place right before kickoff, and is often led by a familiar face. Notable scarf leaders include Sue Bird, Mike McCready, Macklemore and Ken Griffey Jr.
5: Eagerly await the tifo.
Tifo is a way of showing fan support at big matches by using flags, banners, visuals, or large choreographed displays. Large choreographed tifos aren’t revealed until game day – making them that much more exciting during reveal. During the MLS Cup the entire stadium was involved in the tifo, with blue and green plastic sheets spelling out Sounders. “When I saw that I got chills,” Smith says.
6: Always root for the Gold Elevator.
As with many major league sporting events, halftime during a Sounders match means an animated game played on the big screen. The legendary game at CenturyLink involves three elevators racing to the top of the Space Needle, the gold elevator losing every time in stadium. Fans love the elevator so much there are gold elevator jerseys and even a Twitter account.
7: The clock won’t stop.
A soccer match is 90 minutes with two 45-minute halves. However, once the clock begins it doesn’t stop. Not for fouls, player substitutions, or even goals. To help offset some of this lost time, referees can add time – called stoppage time – to the end of each half. It could be just an extra minute. No one ever knows just how much will be added, and it can make those last few minutes extra exciting.
Nearly every minute of a Sounders game is exciting. From “Scarves Up” to hearing 40,000 fans singing or chanting in unison, there’s nothing quite like CenturyLink Field on game day. Smith says that’s because in soccer, an entire game can be made in one moment.
“You have to be on the edge of your seat because it can change in an instant and it’s amazing when it does,” she says.
Seattle Sounders FC finished the 2019 season with an MLS Cup Championship. Now for 2020! Season tickets, single-game tickets, groups, suites and premium seating offer the right experience for everyone.