It was a chilly, breezy day in Frisco, Texas as judgement day rolled into town. There was an air of anticipation as Seattle was in town with a large contingent of fans nestling at the top of the south end. The stadium was nearly filled to capacity, I guess everyone doesn't mind the drive for a playoff game. It was do or die for FC Dallas, as the Sounders came to close our season out.
The Crowd Was Awesome
All of you showed up, and in a big and loud way. It seems like playoff time is what gets people into Toyota Stadium. The entire crowd seemed to hang on every kick of the ball, and every time a player fell. The crowd was a little more quiet in the first half, and understandably a little on the frustrated side as our players really didn't look that much into the game. It was almost like they were playing without heart.
The second half was much better for both the team and the crowd. The team talk from Pareja must have worked wonders as FC Dallas came out with renewed vigor and subsequently sparked the crowd. The attacks became more frequent and ferocious with FC Dallas pushing the issue. Then we subbed on Blas, and then Tesho and Walker Texas Ranger and it was on...
Roller Coaster of Emotions
A wild ride throughout the night to say the least. I didn't think my heart would be able to take something like what happened. The moment Tesho scored, the entire crowd exploded into a cheer of relief, happiness, and pure joy. Then it was tense as we watched our Hoops try and hold on to the fragile lead that'd see us through to the next round. Seattle won a corner, Seattle then took the corner, and Chad Marshall went ahead and scored from the corner. The air was sucked out of the stadium with only the Sounders fans around making any noise. It was unbelievable with us just celebrating our qualification a few seconds earlier.
FC Dallas got back to work on the attack with only minutes left, and the crowd was making noise every time we got up the field. Every corner had the crowd demanding we score on it. Blas flicked it over to Zim-Zim and it was another chorus of cheers as the ball was headed into the back of the net. I managed to take a look at the Seattle supporters and they were absolutely stunned. It was a glorious moment all around, with me hugging several supporters around me. Yes, I give hugs when it's moments like these.
"JESSE! JESSE! JESSE! JESSE!" The crowd was pumped for penalty kicks, while my blood pressure was through the non existent roof. The emotion after every kick and the awesome saves from Jesse was infectious. The crowd went into unending joy once Walker Zimmerman slotted his penalty in with authority. The 17k that attended definitely got a game that they won't be forgetting, it really had everything.
My most exciting player to watch during the game was Walker Zimmerman. I didn't pick the hero Jesse Gonzalez because he has already gotten plenty of plaudits for his outstanding performance. But let's not forget our 3rd string young center back, who replaced a hobbled Zach Loyd, came in and made several important defensive stops. Not only did he perform his defensive duties admirably, he opportunistically score the equalizing goal and calmly slotted his penalty while looking like a boss. Walker Texas Ranger, you were absolutely clutch.
My fan quote of the night has to be the crowd chanting "JESSE! JESSE! JESSE!"
Does anyone else think this was the greatest sporting event you've ever witnessed live? Or is it just me? How great was the euphoria in your section? Could you even watch the penalties or did you turn away? Let me know in the comments below!