Away trips are a special thing. They’re one of the unique things that have brought many people into the ECS. Whether it be derbies in Portland or Vancouver, weekends in LA or San Jose, long trips to Toronto or Philadelphia, two consecutive away matches for MLS Cup or CCL matches in Guatemala, Trinidad, Honduras or El Salvador every away trip we've been fortunate enough to attend has been a great experience, formed new friendships, and strengthened old ones. It's an experience we cannot recommend highly enough, and because we love you all, we want to offer some advice to help you experience the things so many others have before you.

We group Away Trips as follows:

A.  Drivable - These are the places we don't mind sitting in a car to get to. We plan to attend every one of these matches if they fall on the weekend. These are Portland and Vancouver (And some of the serious road warriors include SJE, RSL, COL and LA too. Consider these if you're into longer road trips.)

B.  Weekend Recreational Trips - These are places we want to go to and just hang out with our travel companions, drinking, singing, and having a good time. For us, these typically mean flying out Friday night after work and flying home Sunday night. Airfares for these trips are regularly available for $130-$300. LAG, LAFC, COL, SJE, RSL

C.  Weekend Tourist Trips - These are places we want to go and see the city (usually because we've never seen the tourist traps for which the city is famous.) Typically, we'll fly out Thursday and come back Sunday night or Monday. These tend to be longer trips, East coast cities that we only play away every other season. TOR, PHL, DCU, NYRB, NER, CHI, CLB, ATL, SKC, NYCFC, MIN.

D.  Vacation trips - These are the places we want to go to for a week, to really explore and make the most out of an extended vacation. This is typically for CCL, but we've also done it when able to combine multiple games over the course of a week. We also include MTL in this group. This coming season, the ORL midweek– HOU on the weekend. Hit up Disney, catch the ORL match, then hit the HOU match on your route home.

The "How To" written here is not a gospel. It's not the be-all-end-all of trip planning and once you’ve hit the road, let us know the methods to your away trip madness, and we’ll add ‘em!

  • Figure out what games you want to attend. Sit down with the away schedule and review it. What days can you get off work? What cities are you most interested in visiting? What opponents do you most want to see our Sounders defeat? The day the schedule comes out, we sit down and rank every away match of the year based on our interest. 
  • Find your crew (not you, Columbus). You know where you want to go, so start talking to your friends about it. If you’re new and don't know anyone, post in the away thread for the match and take a chance. Tell them you need to share a hotel room. Ask if someone wants to split the cost of a rental car. Things like that. The large majority of ECS members do not bite. (And the ones who do are usually pretty cool.) You'll end up meeting some new people, and it'll likely be awesome - you just have to take yourself out of your comfort zone.
  • Start looking for flights. This is the fun part, and it's not as much work as you think. There are great websites out there to help you with it. Our favorite is, which will track the prices of flights every day. Accounts are free, so just sign up and start tracking flights. Within a week or two, you'll start to get a good feel for how airfares work. Here's some pro-tips:

1.  Airfares almost always are lowest on Tuesdays and Wednesdays and are highest on weekends.
2.  Airfares are not usually at their lowest rate with long notice (4+ months). Search for a date 2-3 months out, or use tools like Alaska Airlines "Low Fare Calendar" to see how airfare changes based on how far ahead you book. 
3.  Be loyal. We know it's annoying to pay the extra $10-20 on airfare to stick with your favorite airline but consider the benefits: upgrades, free trips, and WINNING A FREE TRIP ON ALASKA BY USING ECS' EASYBIZ. Once you catch this away match bug, we promise that you'll be racking up the miles much quicker than you think, and when you start getting a benefit from them, it feels like you're being paid to go on away trips (Could it get any better than that?!?!)

  • Look for a hotel. One of our favorite resources when planning a trip is, which contains succinct (ed note: unlike this article…) descriptions of cities you may visit, the different parts of town, and often suggests hotel based on budget. We usually use this to find what part of town we want to be in - something with public transportation, good bars, and other ECSers (refer back to the current and past away trip threads, you'll see where other people stay). At that point, there are innumerable websites to search for hotels based on location,,, are a few of our favorites. Check the ratings, make sure you aren't staying in a dump (unless you like dumps, then please help yourself) and book. Don't put too much thought into it for the shorter trips: you won't spend much time there anyways - it's all about LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION. Something close to the stadium, or something that provides easy access to the stadium is usually what matters most.
  • Non-Match Planning. For big away trips (SJE, LAG) there are usually plans discussed in the away trip thread. If your trip is a smaller one, designate someone in your crew to plan what you're going to do while you’re in town. Find a bar with a unique reputation (we love speakeasies and tiki bars); figure out how to get to the tourist traps that made you pick this trip, etc. We hate city tours, but we love seeing things that other people typically take tours of. Find a company online that does city tours and 9 times out of 10, their website will list the places they'd take you. Go there without them.
  • Just do it. Have the time of your life, forget about the problems you're having at work or at home and enjoy yourself. You're on vacation, make the most of it!

By Carlos Bayne

Clad in Sounders gear, I arrived with my dad and sister to Northgate Park and Ride early.  On my shoulder, Angel Carlos says, "Ok, now be a good boy. Don't overindulge in drinking, be polite, be humble, and keep to yourself..." The Devil Carlos throat punches him and kicks him off. "Yeah right! Drink like a bastard, be loud and proud and I might think about keeping you from being injured, maimed, mugged, or killed!"

GAME ON!!  I punch the air for dramatic flair.

We scan the parking lot to figure out which bus will have a keg of beer to supplement our 6 pack of Fremont Summer Ale. We are giddy as school children as we board the Rosales #10 bus, a player we have created a drinking game to go along with his on field play.

The bus started rolling down the highway and in a hot minute we realized ALL THE BUSES HAVE KEGS, we’re in trouble! But then I see my new friends have a cooler of margarita mix. And Jell-O shots.  And strawberry moonshine.  And now we’re going to eat the strawberries that have been soaking in the moonshine?  Someone started passing food around and sharing it amongst our fellow passengers.  More No Equal in my red Solo cup and someone points out that I need a shot of Jameson in that. WTF, poured from a Cuervo bottle that's crossed out with a Sharpie? Oh my god, this is hilarious. More food: cupcakes then Salvadorian bites.  Meeting new people, making new friends, trying new things and having a good time, this is everything I’d imagined and so much more!

We stop at a rest stop and there's a mass exodus for the door. The ECS gathers its troops around the kegs for inverted drinking!! Well... I’ve never done a keg stand in my life, but this is a trip of firsts so next think I know I'm hanging upside down wondering how I do this? F it. I'll figure it out or drown trying. I draw my brew, and more brew and more. Finally, I couldn't hold myself anymore much less drink. I gracefully dismount my trusty keg and stand on my feet triumphantly. I raise my arms, WIN FOR ME! The crowd applauds the performance. Where's my family?  Did anyone get photos of that epic life milestone?

The ECS has managed to corral us drunken idiots onto buses not only once, but twice.  Our bus captains tells us that if you aren't here, raise your hand.  No one does, so we resume our northbound journey with more singing, drinking, and music.

The ECS customs negotiation experts facilitate all the buses clearing customs with no issue and we arrive at BC Place without incident.  After gathering in a plaza to collect our tickets, we marched into BC Place in full force without any issues. I tip my cap to the ECS travel monkeys.

Then the match is finally here! We came to drink, we came to sing, whoa, whoa... Whitecaps score almost immediately. C'mon Seattle!  FIGHT AND WIN!  We get to know our neighbors, who have now become our drinking buddies and the drum leads us in an endless pogo.

Beyond half time Whitecaps score again, 2-0. Doesn't seem to diminish the spirit or the singing of the ECS. I love these guys, but I hope they realize there is a match going on. I dig deep and with our tireless mentality, we will show Vancouver we can rock this for the full 90 minutes!  The scoreline doesn’t change in our favor but the atmosphere is relentless. 

After a disappointing loss we trudge back onto the bus, the energy of the ride up is nowhere to be found.  Exhausted from a full 90, an angel of mercy gave my sister and I some Advil and I passed out, waking up only when we had pull in to the Northgate P&R some 12 hours later.  

If I wasn't a Sounders FC fan or ECS fan before the trip, I definitely am now! The feeling of community, warmth and concern was outright, which I can say is something I've searching for quite some time.  Some of my new ECS family that were on the bus reached out the next day to check in and see if I had recovered from my hangover. Thankfully my migraine had subsided and one of my new friends told me about our next trip, "If you thought that was epic, you should be on the bus to Portland to chop some Timbers!"  I wouldn’t miss it, and maybe I’ll bring the moonshine blackberries!

Eternally grateful,

Carlos Bayne




By Shawn Wheeler

Champions League.  Liga Campeones. 

For supporters around the world, these words bring forth great excitement.  It’s the pinnacle of club competition within each federation, and most supporters go their whole lives dreaming of seeing their club play in these competitions.  In Seattle, we’ve been extremely fortunate to qualify for the CONCACAF Champions League in each our first 3 seasons in MLS.  Our results have been decent, but nothing to give the club the international respect that both ownership and supporters crave. 

The day the group stages ended the knockout stage bracket revealed the daunting task of potentially facing three Liga MX clubs on the road to Champions League glory.  Our first round opponent UANL Tigres from Monterrey, Mexico would be the first step on our path to Champions League history and earning that international respect.  And there was not a chance in hell that I’d miss it.

When the Sounders took the field March 6th in Monterrey they faced the largest crowd they had ever played in front of outside of Royal Brougham Park: 32,807 Tigres fans and 3 ECS members.  When they looked around the stadium taking in the atmosphere, we could see the look on each of their faces as they recognized us and they were not alone.  It was a look of surprise, relief and respect.  It’s a look that waters my eyes and warms my heart every time I see it.  As they smiled and applauded back to us, the coaching staff and bench players came out of the dugout to join them.  In that moment there was just us, united in our battle for Champions League glory.

The match itself is mostly a blur, a repetitive motion of our midfield losing possession and our defense making desperate clearances.  The home supporters were amazing, maintaining a high energy level for the full 90 minutes.  As the second half progressed and our defense remained stalwart, I could feel the nervous energy of the crowd building.  At several points the stadium exploded in response to a close effort or in encouragement during a prolonged attack by the home team.  When Tigres finally converted an opportunity into a goal, the whole building shook.  And yet, we had our opportunities to counter.  Eddie Johnson had some narrowly missed chances to pull even.  After their 1-0 loss, the Tigres fans were very friendly in the stadium, on the walk back to the car and around town the next day.

Though the result of the away leg may not have been what we desired escaping Northern Mexico with only a 1 goal deficit gave coaches, players and supporters a confidence that we could make history by becoming the first MLS club to eliminate a Liga MX club from CCL.  Just one week later, we returned home to Royal Brougham Park and did exactly that.  Our champions league hopes were dashed on the streets of Torreon a few weeks later.  You've missed your last chance now for CCL away, next time be sure to make the supporters dream come true by supporting the club around the world!