SEATTLE — What do you do when too many sweaty soccer fans try to pack into your bar? You take it to the streets (or, more accurately, the parking lot).
That’s the thinking behind Saturday’s Brougham Block Party, presented by the Emerald City Supporters (ECS) and Fuel Sports Bar ahead of Saturday's Cascadia rivalry match against the Vancouver Whitecaps (10:30 p.m. ET; FOX Soccer, TSN2).
According to ECS co-president Greg Mockos, the idea sprang up when it was clear Fuel wasn’t physically large enough to handle the ECS members who wanted to pre-function there.
“We have kind of outgrown that bar, but we are still very loyal to it because of how well they treated us during the USL days,” Mockos said in a phone interview. “With that said, the grandeur of the Cascadia matches gave us an opportunity to kick it up a notch.”
The previous Block Party before the Portland match went well, with an estimated 2,200 fans in the bar and the beer garden. Sports Illustrated’s Grant Wahl attended, while Sounders fan favorite Roger Levesque stopped by on his way to the match.
If things continue to progress, Mockos can see the Block Party expanding.
“Hopefully, instead of taking up a third of the parking lot, we can take up the whole thing,” Mockos said. “That would give us about 6,000 to 7,000. But not yet.”
Festivities start five hours before kickoff, with food and drink specials. Local brew Big Al Brewing’s Brougham Bitter will be on tap. Mockos said they finished nine kegs before the Portland match.
The event concludes with the March to the Match one hour before the game. Fans in attendance create a raucous atmosphere, including songs and chants led by ECS members. Those hardy enough to make the return trip after the match will be treated to a concert from bands featuring ECS members.
One thing to note: Whitecaps fans in town for the match will need to find another place to party. In the interests of keeping the peace, admittance is limited to Sounders fans only. It is also 21+ and there is no cover charge.
Andrew Winner covers the Seattle Sounders for MLSsoccer.com. Follow him on Twitter @AndrewWinnerMLS
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