Sounders 3-7-20 game held despite virus concerns
“Thank you for hosting this. It gives us something to cheer about.”
According to Sounders Club President, Peter Tomozawa, several fans expressed thanks the Sounder match against Ohio’s Columbus Crew SC was held despite the Covid-19 fear gripping Seattle right now. While talk of rescheduling matches and hosting empty stadium games dominated MLS meetings the past week, nothing was going to stop 33,080 Sounder supporters Saturday night looking for a repeat of the season opener last weekend.
Numerous precautions were taken by stadium staff to protect fans, including extra cleaning before and after games, additional sanitizer stations, and posters to educate fans on Covid-19. Even coffee and food service had noticeable changes. Elbow greetings were everywhere, and the usual pregame handshake was foregone this game. While the team generally have little contact with the general public, they are aware of the effect on the fans, family, and friends. Concern had the Columbus Crew chartering planes to fly in and out of the game, just to ensure player safety.
The Sounders rely on the energy of the fans filling the stadium. It can be felt reverberating throughout the body if one manages to stand still for a second. When asked about possibly playing before an empty stadium, Roldan (7) said, “It sucks, but we understand. Safety comes first.” During warmups, the stands had remained mostly empty, which concerned Coach Schmetzer for a little while. However, the stands were full by the time of the coin toss, only 4,000 shy of a typical season game of just over 37,000 fans.
This game almost followed the same play by play as the opener against the Chicago Fire. Columbus scored first at the 33’ mark. A Sounder goal by Ibarra (11) at the 53’ mark was overturned by VAR. Fans hoped for a quick repeat goal but had to wait until a repeat penalty kick at the 79’ mark by Ruidiaz (9) to tie the game after the Columbus goalie had jumped forward prior to the kick on the first attempt. Two attempts by Morris (13) at the 85’ and 90+3’ marks, including a header attempt, did not complete and the game ended with a 1-1 tie.
Raul Ruidiaz (9) was disappointed after the game, “Here at home we have to get all the points, and we didn’t tonight. “
Yeimar Andrade (28) made his MLS debut Saturday as a centerback. The 27-year old spent the last eight years playing in Argentina.
The next home game is 7 p.m. March 21, 2020, against FC Dallas.