Photo by @PNWmf

Fortune Favors the Bold

As is the case in tarot readings, the cards tell a bigger story. They show you the potential in your path, but it’s up to you to fulfill it. In this reading, there was one clear message we wanted to send to our boys before the first whistle: Seize Your Fortune.

While second in the West and extending the playoff streak is nothing to be scoffed at, these 2021 Sounders must carve their own future. As we’ve established, nothing is given; everything is earned. And when it comes to Royal Brougham Park, there’s a special kind of magic in the air when the regular season ends and the playoffs begin. The nights are darker and colder, the flags are wetter, and the boys have a penchant for the dramatic.

On the cards, we didn’t skimp on detail. The Fortress, as Stefan Frei calls it, is card XIII (13) for our 13th season in the playoffs. The Chorus is 121-122-123 for the ECS sections. And The Steward (and his coffee cup) is 74. Beyond that, the remaining six cards are numbered for the players featured on them: Cristian Roldan (The Ironman), Raúl Ruidíaz (La Pulga), Yeimar Gomez Andrade (Strength), Nicolas Benezet (Confidence), Nouhou (Chaos), and Frei (King of Gloves).

Each of the nine cards also includes a blue and green checkered pattern as a nod to our 2019 Cup Final display.

This display couldn’t have been done without our amazing tifo volunteers. From the planning and design, to sewing and painting, to deployment, we needed all 50+ folks who came out and helped. Want to be part of what’s next? Sign up for the Tifo mailing list to be looped in once the work for 2022 begins.

Photo by @SoundersFC

Everything Earned

While we set the bar high as Sounders - playoffs, trophies, high seeds, golazos - it’s important to remember as we head into our 13th consecutive postseason: Nothing is given. Everything is earned.

For the final home match of the regular season, we took inspiration from old boxing posters to showcase one of our leaders. João Paulo has been a rock in the midfield this season, showing Sounders fans, media, and opposing clubs why he should absolutely be in the MVP discussions.

If you want to help with tifo during the playoff push, fill out this form to get notified or check out the forum soon to see when we need you.

Photos by @PMWmf

Build a Bonfire, Twice!

Few things can unite supporters groups like the mutual hatred of an opposing fan base. ECS joined forces with Royal Guard, OL Reign’s supporters group, to remind Portland that we’re all building this bonfire together - and by ‘we’, we mean Seattle and Tacoma.

The Reign are no strangers to the Portland rivalry and their old/new head coach Laura Harvey is ready to lead her team into war against the Thorns once again. She coached Seattle Reign FC for the first five years of the National Women’s Soccer League (2013-2017) and recently returned as OL Reign head coach.

For the Sounders, this rivalry crosses generational lines. It gets passed down from one year’s team to the next, from NASL to WSL to USL to MLS. Locals like Jordan Morris and Kelyn Rowe were raised on it and our teenagers understand it from day one. It was only fitting that our coffee-drinking steward holds the torch to keep this bonfire burning.

All in, this two overhead, one curtain display took approximately 400 volunteer hours of sewing, designing, painting, and deployment work, a great joint effort by members of ECS and RG. For ECS members, if you want to join a future tifo production session, or help with future deployments, fill out this form, for Royal Guard members or interested folks, follow @RoyalGuard_SG for ways to get involved.

Photo by Andrew Weldon

Together with Pride

With every match in 2021, it gives us another chance to celebrate being back together in support of our boys. Together with Pride also reunites the LGBTQ+ community and allies, reminding all that we support Our City, Our Club, and Our Love. In ECS, you are welcome as you are and as you choose to be. There is room in our community for you to be seen and accepted as your true self.

With the current legislative attacks around the country on transgender people, including transgender kids who just want to play sports, it’s even more important for folx of all ages, genders, and identities to know that they are welcomed and safe in sporting culture. Building that safe space in our community also allows for newly LGBTQ+ people to trust they won’t be turned away from their soccer family. As one Sounder shared on social media this weekend, “Love whoever the F you want.”

The Progress Pride Flag design used in the PRIDE lettering was designed in 2018 by Daniel Quasar. Built on the rainbow flag, xe included both the transgender flag and brown and black for LGBTQ+ communities of color into the design.

Photo by @heygregr

Meant to be Together

It was 442 days since ECS was in the Brougham End. The return home exceeded expectations - being with friends, raising our voices, our flags, our drums, singing and jumping until everything was sore, all in support of the boys. This is the way it was meant to be. Our coach, himself, believes that The Club is the relationship between players and fans. That relationship is best displayed through the passion and organized chaos of the Brougham End. Supporters give life to the game. There is a symbiotic and reciprocal energy between the players on the field and their supporters in the terraces, each giving the other the energy to achieve greater heights. We went from the riotous energy of hosting and winning MLS Cup to a year of watching our boys saluting an empty terrace. The contrast made it clearer than ever, we are Meant to be Together.