U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati was available after Tuesday’s big win over Panama, and he gave reporters his thoughts on the Seattle atmosphere and if the national team could be coming back for a important game.
Here is a transcript:
* * *
(On his overall impressions on the game…) “All positive. A couple of things that people were talking about before this game were field conditions and that we didn’t have a sellout a month ago. That (the crowd) was 41,000 out of 42 that we made available, we had the most comprehensive win that we’ve had in qualifying in this Hex, so it’s all very positive. The crowd was great, the field held up, and we knew, whenever you do with the field, laying it down on artificial turf, it’s not going to play perfectly, like it’s a natural grass surface. We knew that. The players knew that, we knew that, the coaches knew that. Knowing all of that, because we’ve played on it before, we made the decision to come. It held up well.”
(On if it’s foreseeable that they come to Seattle again for game of this magnitude…) “Well, not foreseeable for the next three or four years, because we don’t have a game of this magnitude that that’s not already set. But yeah, we would do that again, sure.”
(On if there are any negatives at all to identify…) “Well when I went to (Occidental Avenue) before and I asked the crowd for their prediction, and they predicted three-nothing, so that didn’t go as well as they or I had hoped. … No, I mean, everything went well. It’s by far the biggest crowd — well, not by far — it’s the biggest crowd we’ll have for qualifying because we generally play in smaller stadiums. The fact that it didn’t sell out 20 minutes after… Seattle’s a great market. It’s a good thing that the Sounders get 35- or 40,000 people and you get 93,000 people over 48 hours come to watch games. That’s a good thing. There’s a reason that Spain doesn’t play a lot of their games in Madrid and Barcelona, because they’ve got two phenomenal club teams people are so used to seeing. So that’s part of what’s going on here. It’s a great soccer town and the whole experience was positive.”