When the Sounders hold their video sessions before each match, the coaching staff does what they can to prepare the team for their next opponent.
For Saturday’s match with the Portland Timbers, they got an assist from the Emerald City Supporters. Co-presidents Keith Hodo and Greg Mockos sent the team 2012 Emerald City Supporter Membership packages, including them all as honorary members of the ECS.
It was pointed timing, as over 800 fans would be streaming in to JELD-WEN Field the next day for the derby match against the Timbers.
“We know that there’s a lot of pride on the line in these games,” Sounders midfielder Brad Evans said. “Any time before a big derby game that you get something like that, it just adds something special.”
Included in the membership package was a personal letter from Mockos and Hodo welcoming the players to the ECS family, explaining their passion and encouraging them in the coming match.
“Every professional soccer player wants to leave a legacy,” they said in the letter. “Every soccer player wants his name to be echoed in the stands long past the time he touches a ball on the pitch. This is the time for you to build that legacy which will inspire future generations of Seattle Sounder supporters.”
ECS has been the most vocal of the Sounders FC supporter groups at home and on the road.
That support is unwavering. The players understand that passion and are appreciative of the efforts and emotions of the fans.
“It’s a two-way street. We try to put forth our best effort and I know that they do too,” Evans said. “They’re disappointed when we lose, but so are we. We don’t take losing lightly or these cup games lightly. We know that they take them very seriously. All that support doesn’t go unnoticed.”
In addition to their volume, creativity and consistency in supporting the club for every minute of every match, Evans is also impressed by the knowledge of the fanbase. While everyone would like the club to win every match, the fans know that isn’t a realistic expectation.
“It’s a very educated group of fans that we’re lucky to have,” Evans said. “When we tie games, it’s not the end of the world. When we lose games, it’s not the end of the world. That gives us confidence going forward that they’re always going to be there.”
The Sounders weren’t able to reward their traveling support with a victory, but their draw with Portland did prevent the scenario that would see ECS handing the Cascadia Cup over to their Portland counterparts after the match.
The Timbers still top the Cascadia Cup standings with eight points while Seattle is second with five points, right in striking distance with two matches left to play.
The feelings of the Sounders and their supporters were best represented in the letter from Hodo and Mockos.
“The only fingerprints that should be on that cup are yours and ours!”