SEATTLE -- Bottom line: If you're a soccer fan living in America, you're doing yourself a great disservice if you don't make an attempt to take in a Seattle Sounders FC game. The overwhelming fan support, the sold-out crowds, the insane noise level inside Qwest Field -- it's enough to bring a tear to one's eye, as it did for MLS commissioner
Most affiliated with Major League Soccer expected a successful beginning for an expansion team with this kind of powerful ownership structure (many thanks, Seattle Seahawks) playing in the Emerald City. But few could have guessed the avalanche of noisy crowds the Sounders are getting in what has turned into perhaps the greatest homefield advantage in MLS history.
Count iconic goalkeeper
The Sounders are a surprising 4-2-0 just six weeks into the season and are in second place in the Western Conference. Perhaps even more impressively, they've only allowed three goals, and zero with their captain tending net.
SI.com caught up with the 39-year-old legend shortly after the Sounders' 2-0 victory over San Jose here this past Saturday, a game in which, by the way, Keller set a record by playing 389 consecutive minutes without conceding a goal to start a season. One of the best-spoken and most intelligent athletes you'll ever come across, he discussed his expectations for Seattle and had some strong words on what he believes U.S. national-team players deserve from MLS.
My kids are 11 years old and now they're in their fifth school in their fourth country. If I'm going to drag them around a bit more, it's got to be the right situation. Then it was even tougher when I committed to this team because it was, OK, do I take that little time off and be here from Day 1? Or do I come back in the middle of July? After that first game [a nationally televised 3-0 win over New York in front of 32,523], my wife said to me, "You know, it would have been a huge shame to have missed that experience." I fully agree that the choices have fallen into place.
I had a conversation with a prominent coach here when I was on-again, off-again to coming home and he basically told me that I "owed it to the sport" to come home and play. I had to fight for everything I possibly could in Europe and now I have to fight twice as hard to come home and get a contract? That's not right. Look at the way the Dutch do it -- they understand. Ajax and PSV Eindhoven know they can't keep a hold of their homegrown stars. Someone like