On Saturday night, the first edition of Sounders Classics, a new weekly series re-airing some of the top matches in club history, debuted on JOEtv, SoundersFC.com the Sounders FC App.
In addition to the broadcast of the 2019 MLS Cup, club legend Steve Zakuani provided real-time analysis via live stream on the Sounders Twitter account. The show featured special guests like Keith Costigan, Cristian Roldan, Harry Shipp, Stefan Frei, Brad Evans, Jordan Morris, Matt Johnson and Nicolás Lodeiro all reminiscing and hanging out in an informal setting.
Oh, and Head Coach Brian Schmetzer was in the comments section all evening interacting with fans.
There were almost too many highlights from the live stream to choose favorites – Zakuani’s analysis and commentary throughout were top notch. Here are five of the best moments from the club’s inaugural streaming experience during Sounders Classics.
MLS Cup Insights
As professional athletes, the players are used to public appearances. But this had a different, casual feel compared to the usual media scrums or post-match interviews.
All the guests on the stream have been friends for years, so the atmosphere felt like a group of guys hanging out over a beer rather than a formal broadcast. With everyone re-watching the 2019 MLS Cup together, it led to fascinating insights into their preparation for the match, as well as the environment at CenturyLink Field on November 10, 2019.
“When the Boom Boom Clap happened, it was so special,” Roldan told Zakuani. “Right after the national anthems, it was really special to see everyone with the cards up, you could really see the green and blue throughout and how unified the stadium was. I had goosebumps – I’m having goosebumps right now just talking about it. It was that crazy.”
Roldan’s best friend and teammate, Morris, echoed those sentiments when he joined the stream, noting about his unique connections to the club.
“I remember walking out on the field and just having chills,” he said. “I was thinking the night before about what a special opportunity this was. Growing up in this city and going to the first [MLS] game at CenturyLink and just wanting to be out on that field someday. Fast forward to now and playing in a final in front of all of those fans, it was such a surreal experience.”
Former captain and club ambassador Brad Evans brought plenty of comic relief to the stream.
“If I could pick one guy from the team to be a head coach, it would be Harry [Shipp],” he joked. “It would be so much fun. The care factor would be zero. Somehow, we’d just get the job done.”
When Shipp told the guys he was spending his evening in sweatpants, eating sushi and sipping rosé, Evans immediately roasted him.
“You’re so BASIC, dude,” he chimed in.
When Morris revealed he didn’t have cable at his place, Evans joked that he’s so cheap he buys used socks. Morris wasn’t too salty, though, as he extended an offer to Evans to move in with him and his fiancé if Evans’ wife wouldn’t let him get a video game console.
You won’t want to miss next weeks’ edition of Sounders Classics, as Evans is sure to supply comedic gold throughout the broadcast.
Another Side of Frei
With the stream providing such a casual setting for all the guests, we got to see different sides of the players’ personalities. A talented artist and student of the game, Frei provided some fascinating insights into how he approaches his different interests.
“Sometimes you get so into one of the pieces that you can’t see the big picture anymore,” Frei said of his art – although it certainly applies to life in general. “I think I’m done with that one [piece for WaFd Bank], but before I seal and varnish it, I want to let it sit for a little and revisit it.”
Drafted into the league in 2009, Frei has had to develop different components of his game as the demands on goalkeepers have morphed over the last decade.
“It’s changed drastically,” he told Zakuani. “In practice when you play possession games, you talk about diamond shape, triangles and such. That’s coming more and more into play for us on the field in actual games. I’m trying to almost bait one of their opponents to come at me, and then I find the overload on one of the sides.”
Can You Hear Me Now?
It took several attempts for broadcaster Matt Johnson to join the live stream. After losing his connection in his house, back yard and front yard, he came up with an innovative idea to get back online.
“I got in my car and drove down the street,” he said when he finally rejoined the stream. “I should be good now!”
With his connection firmly established, he offered some fascinating insights into the 2020 Seattle Sounders team. More specifically, he waxed lyrical about how exciting the Rave Green will be when they get the midfield trio of João Paulo, Gustav Svensson and Nicolás Lodeiro on the pitch at the same time.
Nico Settles the Messi vs. Lodeiro Debate
The final guest of the evening, club captain and midfield maestro Nicolás Lodeiro, was an awesome addition to the stream.
During the offseason, Lodeiro posted a picture of himself with arguably the greatest player on the planet, FC Barcelona legend Lionel Messi. According to Lodeiro, the met the GOAT at the 10th anniversary party of a mutual friend, Luis Suarez.
Asked by Zakuani who had the better left foot, Nico or Messi, Lodeiro didn’t mince his words.
“Me, of course,” he quipped, before laughing for probably 30 seconds.
Lodeiro’s time with Zakuani on the stream was incredibly fun and uplifting, including a heartfelt message to Sounders supporters.
“Me and my family love the fans,” he said. “The fans are our family. When I arrived, they received me very good. I really love them and really appreciate it. Now we feel that Seattle is our home.”