Apparently the soccer attendances have always been great in Seattle.
As the USMNT gets set to play Russia on Wednesday (10 am ET, ESPN2, Univision Deportes, live chat on MLSsoccer.com), it's a good reason to recall that USA vs. Russia was also the harbinger of great crowds we see in Seattle these days in MLS: 43,651 showed up at the old Kingdome back on January 29, 1994.
Current Sounders technical director Chris Henderson, a native of Washington, put on a show for his hometown fans, but it was current ESPN analyst Alexi Lalas, who stole the show with a late equalizer in his white racquetball shoes. After all, the match was played indoors.
"I had to get special permission from Bora [Milutinovic, US manager] to wear white shoes," Lalas told MLSsoccer.com. "They were racquetball shoes and I went in to show him the shoes and he said, 'If you're going to run around in those, you better play well.' They were the only shoes I felt comfortable in."
Hey US fans in Seattle: You may want to say thank you to Lalas when you see him around your parts for the Seattle-LA Western Conference Championship second leg this weekend.
Thanks to him we have this epic call from play-by-play man JP Dellacamera (watch the video below).
USA 1, Russia 1; January 29, 1994 (Kingdome; Seattle)
USA 0, Russia 1; February 13, 1993 (Citrus Bowl; Orlando, Fla.)
The names on the US squad are like a who's-who of the 2012 MLS playoffs: Frank Klopas (Chicago Fire manager), Dominic Kinnear (Houston Dynamo manager), Chris Henderson (Seattle Sounders technical director) and Peter Vermes (Sporting Kansas City manager).
Russia 2, USA 0; April 26, 2000 (Dynamo Stadium; Moscow)
Yep, it was the US wearing red in Russia back in 2000 when they showed why they would become a World Cup force just two years later.