2012 Oly Sports moment of the year: Sounder U-23s in Tumwater
1,400 soccer fans packed Tumwater Stadium on June 2nd to see the Sounders U-23s take on the Portland Timbers U23s. After a scoreless 90 minutes of play, Jamael Cox’s goal in stoppage time of the second half gave the Sounders the dramatic 1-0 win in the junior version of the Cascadia Cup. It may not sound like much, a mid-season Premier Development League game in front of a solid crowd, but it was enough to earn the Oly Sports moment of the year.
In their first season after years playing in near anonymity as the Tacoma Tides, the Sounders U-23s split their home games between Tacoma’s Franklin Pierce High School and Cheney Stadium and Tumwater Stadium. Changing their name and teaming with the Seattle Sounders was meant to both improve the quality of play and capitalize on the marketing power of the Sounders name. And while the Sounders U-23s attendance figures improved over previous Tides seasons, they didn’t exactly blow anybody away, except for the game in Tumwater. Olympia provided the Sounders with their highest attended game of the season and showed that this area has the ability to support a high level soccer team.
Can a big crowd at a one off event be translated to a team that doesn’t have the Sounders name remains to be seen. But this was a watershed moment in the history of minor league sports in the Olympia area. No other team has ever drawn that well and then delivered the goods.
Sadly, 2013 won’t be the year that Olympia gets the chance to show that it is a soccer town with a permanent PDL or other semi-pro league team. But hopefully the Sounders U-23s will come back this summer and can draw like they did in 2012.
Posted on January 1, 2013, in Soccer, Sounders U-23. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.
Pingback: Sounders, Timbers rivalry returns to Tumwater « Oly Sports