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April 10, 2012 at 12:39 AM

Alex Morgan: “This was maybe a crowd we’d get directly after the World Cup.”

morgan spu.jpgPhoto credit: Erika Schultz, The Seattle Times

It was a fun night of soccer out at Starfire Stadium. The story of the night wasn’t the Sounders Women’s 5-0 exhibition win against Seattle Pacific. No, what made it special was an incredible crowd of about 4,000 fans that came out to supports women’s soccer. Here are some postgame quotes.

* * *

ALEX MORGAN, Sounders FC forward

(What are your feelings after your first match as a Sounder?) “Well, the atmosphere was great. I really loved how everyone came out. We had a lot of people chanting, so it’s really to see them come out and support the women. I felt good about our first time playing together. We haven’t been able to practice a lot together. It’s great. We came out, played a great game, 5-0 win, and we’re looking forward to the rest of the week and playing again Friday.”

(And nice to put a goal away?) “Oh yeah, definitely. I think I had my fair share of chance. (laughs) … I did get on the board and I’m happy about that. Hopefully next time I’ll put a few more away.”

(What happened on your goal?) “Me and (Sydney Leroux) have played together for many years now. We played together on the U-20 team, so it’s been a while. We’re usually anticipating each other pretty well. I knew she was going to play that ball and I knew where the goal was, so I tried to hit it first time. Unfortunately Syd didn’t get on the board today, but she had a lot of chances. Her time will come, as well.”

(How’d the atmosphere compare to a WPS game?) “I’m really impressed with Seattle and the support that we’ve got for the women’s team. It’s been great so far. I was really surprised at how many fans came out to support us. With the WPS, we were lucky getting a crowd like this. This was maybe a crowd we’d get directly after the World Cup. I’m really happy with the way things turned out tonight, and hopefully once the season gets started we’ll attract even more fans.”

(Was there any more room for them?) “There was maybe a hundred extra spots. I’m hoping it’ll be packed. This was an exhibition game; this was against a college. Once we’re playing against other top-quality teams we’re hoping it’ll sell out.”

(And if professional soccer manages to come back, do you think Seattle has proved it deserves a team?) “Oh yeah, Seattle is a great soccer city — all of the Northwest. You just see that MLS. I’m really hoping that they take that next step if the WPS decides to come back. If they can get their act together and come back next year, Seattle is definitely doing the right things this year.”

(Did it help you gel with so many USWNT players on the team?) “Yeah, I mean it’s great to have five or six players on this team. It’s always nice to be able to play with them and get some extra practices and games with my teammates. It’s also to switch it up. We’re with the team all the time, so it’s great to get a feel for other players and get some games in and some competition with teams other than playing intersquad scrimmages at training camps.”

(What’s it like to be wearing the same colors as you boyfriend, Sounders FC midfielder Servando Carrasco?) “It’s awesome. I’m so happy to put on this jersey and to have my name on the back. I’ve been wearing this jersey with ‘Carrasco’ on the back all last year. This year, it’s really nice to have my own. It’s almost a little surreal putting it on today. I’m really happy about that.”

(Have you tried to recruit any more USWNT players here?) “I’ve been trying, but we have (five). I think that’s a good number so far.”

VERONICA PEREZ, Sounders Women’s midfielder

(What did you think when you first saw the atmosphere you were going to play in?) “Well I knew we had been doing some good marketing and spreading the name out there with the Sounders Women — in the paper, on the radio, all that kind of stuff. We heard that there was going to be a lot of people out there. But there was the fan section, and all the family and friends came out, so it was great to see them out there and supporting us.”

(What does it mean to have those top USWNT players on the team?) “It definitely raises our level. They’re great players to play with. I’ve played against them, so it’s always been hard, but to play with them makes you a better player. It’s good to work with different styles of play and it’s good to adapt. It’s challenging and the competition is great.”

(You ever have drums beating and fans chanting at a the club level?) “No. That was very cool. I’ve been to the MLS games with Sounders and (saw the fans chanting) at their game. To have them here for us, for the women’s team, it’s awesome.”

MICHELLE FRENCH, Sounders Women’s coach

(Were you expecting this type of atmosphere?) “I had heard how many people were going to come, but it’s like one of those things where you invite people to a party — you never who’s going to actually show up. I think every seat was filled. It exceeded my expectations. The chanting, the way they created an environment just like the men’s game was awesome. It was just a little bit more intimate. But it way exceeded my expectation and I think they hopefully got a good show.”

(How do you compare this to the atmosphere you experience in the WUSA?) “I think it’s a very positive thing when we can get this many people to come out, just for our first game. Granted, you’ve got some great names that are here, but I think after tonight, especially with some of the goals that were scored, we’re going to have players that people are going to recognize now, where maybe they didn’t know them before. Playing in WUSA was similar in the respect that you had those diehard fans. But I think the evolution of women’s soccer has now brought (support) to a new level. There is the chanting. There are the kids buying the jerseys. … Seattle is, I think, one of the best places to actually have that happen.”


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