The energy could be felt even from the parking lot. Local soccer fans 6,000 plus strong, decked out in rave green and blue, greeted their favorite United Soccer League team in Tacoma’s Cheney Stadium for the first time on March 16, 2018.
The first game of Sounders FC 2 (known informally as just S2) looks to have set the bar for what the South Sound can expect for this year’s 17 home match soccer season at Cheney Stadium – and that bar is pretty high.
One of the things I liked best was how convenient it was to receive my tickets in the first place. I didn’t have to worry about losing physical pieces of paper. I simply loaded up the code from my phone, showed it to the usher, and in we went. Easy as 1, 2, 3. For those bringing small children, I highly recommend this option.
Once in, I was interested in seeing how the groundskeepers were going to be able to transform a stadium made exclusively for baseball into a professional soccer pitch. I had recently spoken to head groundskeeper Michael Huie about the logistics of such a transformation, and the mind-boggling amount of work that must go into it. Needless to say, the men behind the magic delivered.
From there, my family and I headed up to the Summit Club for a pre-game drink along with the Sounders faithful. The night was on the chilly side and the ability to be able to head inside and still be able to watch the game when the little ones got cold was an added bonus (not to mention the complimentary beer and wine for the adults).
Yet Summit Club or not, the best thing about Cheney Stadium is that there really isn’t a bad seat in the house. No matter where you go, whether it’s the spreading out on the grass berm or celebrating at the R Bar, there’s always a great view of the action on the field. And what action there was on opening night.
The Sounders FC 2 hosted rival Portland Timbers 2 and it was obvious they both had something to prove. After a Timbers goal a third of the way into the match, the Sounders came back with two quick goals in short order, thus securing a great opening win for the boys in rave green.
However the field wasn’t the only thing to see. There’s nothing quite like a Sounders fan, and the fans made a great game even more exciting. There was green smoke, there were songs sung, and there were more scarves than in an Aspen ski lodge. The roar from the crowd when defender Nick Hinds took the lead was nothing short of thrilling.
As the kids grew antsy long into the second half of play, we took a trip to the Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital Family Pavilion. Built in 2016, the playground and Wiffle ball field have held up well, and it took promises of hot dogs to convince the kids to go back to the game. And as any loyal fan, we found some time to check out the Team Store, which thankfully already had S2 merchandise stocked up for the season. Cheney Stadium remains a family-friendly place that has something for everyone.
Overall, the Sounders FC 2 opening night gave me everything I was hoping for: a great experience, an exciting game, and a satisfying Friday with my family. These games are a perfect introduction for novices to professional soccer, while also providing one more excuse for seasoned veterans to visit the pitch. S2 will play at Cheney Stadium for two seasons before their own stadium is built, so be sure to take the opportunity to see world-class soccer in an unconventional venue.
For more information about Sounders FC 2, ticket pricing and information about Cheney Stadium, check out their website here. Tickets are available online, over the phone at 253-752-7707 or by visiting the box office at 2502 S. Tyler Street, Tacoma WA 98405.