Wednesday, June 12, 2013

USA World Cup Qualifier vs. Panama in Seattle

Century Link Field is Seattle know as the "Home of the 12th Man," because the Seattle Seahawks fans undying love and support for the football team that plays its home games in the stadium. 

On Tuesday night, over 40,000 fans in the stadium became the "12th Man" for the USA Men's National soccer team, supporting the team in their first FIFA World Cup Qualifier in the Emerald City since 1976.  

The electric atmosphere of the USA supporters in the stands was matched by a surprisingly dominating performance by the team on the field. The  USA team comfortably defeated Panama 2-0, to claim sole possession of first place during the World Cup CONCACAF Hexagonal and in pole position to qualify for the World Cup next year in Brazil.
Before the game a lot of USA fans met up at Fuel Sports near the stadium for the American Outlaws pre-game party to get ready.
Fans of all sizes and shapes grabbed a beer and watched some of the other World Cup Qualifying matches taking place around the world earlier in the day.
The pride of the American fans was evident everywhere at the bar.
But there came a time for the USA fans to say, thanks but no thanks to the pre-game drinks...

...and make their way over to the pre-game rally at Occidental Park and prepare for a march together to the stadium.

At Occidental Park, some fans enjoyed kicking a soccer ball around...

...while others showed their pride waving a large American flag.

From the park, several hundred USA fans marched together towards the stadium in a show of unity.  With blue smoke bombs appearing out of nowhere....
 ...the fans were swept up with frenzy with chants of "USA! USA! USA!"
 A small group of Panama fans tried to boo the USA fans entering the stadium...
 ...but all in all the atmosphere was friendly between the fans of the two nations.
 Inside the stadium the USA fans arrived showing off their colors.
 Even President Barack Obama recorded a message urging on the team to victory.
 As the game was about to start the fans held their souvenir scarves up high.
 And the American Outlaws put together an amazing TIFO display ( TIFO stands for a choreographed display of the sports fans in the stadium) celebrating 100 years having a national soccer team in America.
 Soon the game started...
 ...and the fans started chanting and cheering for the USA.
 The game was a bit tense at the start, and took a good part of the first half for the the USA to create a quality chance on goal.
 When the USA's Jozy Altidore scored his first goal, pandemonium broke out among the home fans in the stands.
 The fans continued to urge on the team into the second half...
 and were rewarded with a second goal by local MLS player Eddie Johnson.
 After taking a 2-0 lead, the USA took control of the game allowing the fans to relax a bit and catch up with some of the the essentials in life, including sustenance.
The fans were not even that upset when Demarcus Beasley missed an excellent scoring opportunity in the second half for the USA.
 As the game ended, the small contingent of Panama fans looked on dejected.
And with the final whistle the USA fans, and local MLS Seattle Sounder player Brad Evans celebrated the victory.

 It was an important to savor the moment and the victory, but in World Cup qualifying it's all about collecting enough points to make it to Brazil next year.  That road passes through Salt Lake City next Tuesday with another World Cup qualifier home match against Honduras. 

For more photos of soccer fanatics around the world "like' my facebook page: 12th Man Photos

Monday, June 10, 2013

The 103rd Running of the Dipsea

I love photographing the Dipsea.

I know I say that every year, but every time it gets towards June I can't wait for the annual Sunday race from downtown Mill Valley, over Mt. Tamalpais, to Stinson Beach.  I love that there are runners that are in their 80's, and then runners that are 8.

I love that the streets of Mill Valley are lined with spectators of all sizes.

I love that there are racers are always there to help out each other.

I love that everyone takes it so seriously.
I love it that people attack the Dipsea steps...

but feel it soon after.

And I love that the racers bolt from the first flight of Dipsea steps...

Only to find out there are hundreds of more in front of them.

It's the greatest footrace I know of.  To see the full coverage of the race, check out the Marin Independent-Journal.