Anschutz Trophy arrives in Seattle

SEATTLE -- A few dozen hardy Seattle Sounders FC fans greeted the Philip F. Anschutz Trophy upon its arrival at Seattle's waterfront Wednesday, in advance's of Sunday's MLS Cup 2009.

A brisk wind and overcast skies set the scene for the arrival, which was punctuated by a couple long blasts of the ferry's horn. Sounders FC coach Sigi Schmid and technical director Chris Henderson stood and waved on the bow of the ferry M/V Tacoma as it made port from nearby Bainbridge Island.

The Sounders FC supporters created a tunnel with black MLS Cup scarves before Dow Constantine, the incoming King County Executive, gave a short speech before the gathered crowd. He spoke of playing soccer as a youth growing up in the Seattle area and attending NASL games as a child, reminiscing about the 1977 Soccer Bowl between the New York Cosmos and the NASL Sounders.

"MLS made a great decision in expanding to our region," Constantine said. "Here's a place where darn near every kid grows up playing soccer.

"We're so proud that MLS decided to bring the championship game to Seattle and King County."

Schmid and Henderson then took a moment to speak to the invited crowd that had gathered, which at that point included some spectators who were waiting for their ferry to depart. Henderson said he had friends on both teams and wouldn't attempt to pick a winner in Sunday's final between the Los Angeles Galaxy and Real Salt Lake.

"The fans in Seattle that have supported our team all season are going to come out and support the MLS Cup," Henderson said.

Schmid expressed his disappointment that it wasn't his Sounders FC team that was playing this Sunday. But he reassured the fans that their time will come to cheer the team toward a title.

"Chicago won it in their expansion year and hasn't won it since," Schmid joked. "We want to win more than one; we don't want to get jinxed that way.

"I want all our fans to come out there on Sunday and show what Seattle soccer support is all about."

With the cool temperatures, the assembled fans had their picture taken with the Cup before the crowd scattered. Similarly cool temperatures are expected for Sunday's game, which will take place at Qwest Field, just blocks away from the Ferry Terminal.

Andrew Winner is a contributor to MLSnet.com.


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