David Falk has followed soccer in the Puget Sound region since 1974. This blog covers Sounders FC, local college soccer, Seattle Wolves FC, Tacoma Tide FC and Kitsap Pumas. Send tips or comments to: goalseattle@gmail.com
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Seattle Soccer Examiner

Seattle Soccer Examiner

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Seattle Sounders from the top: 1977

It has been over 31 years since the fairytale 1977 season for the North American Soccer League Sounders, but fans will never forget that 'first time.' All these years later the playoff wins and advancement to "Soccer Bowl '77" remain carved into Sounders' fans' psyches.

Seattle were a club that struggled all regular season and finished only 14-12 then shot through the playoffs by beating Vancouver, Minnesota and Los Angeles and arriving at Portland's Civic Stadium to play Pele, Franz Beckenbauer, Giorgio Chinaglia and the New York Cosmos in the Championship Final.

In a heartbreaking match Seattle fell to New York 2-1. The Sounders hit the post in the final minutes and also had a goal called back. Further adding to the lore was Seattle goalkeeper Tony Chursky's gaffe that gave New York a stunning strike.

Thousands of Sounders fans traveled to Portland for the match and outnumbered the New Yorkers and the Portland fans who were cheering for the Cosmos.

Catch up: 1974 1975 1976

Only four years after beginning life in little Memorial Stadium the Sounders played a conference final before over 56,000 fans in the Kingdome and edged LA 1-0 on a goal by Jockey Scott to reach Soccer Bowl.

Another famous moment came early in the season when the Sounders were struggling so much that head coach Jimmy Gabriel un-retired along with assistant Bobby Howe. Both took the pitch as Seattle players and inspired the club to a 3-2 win over Portland before over 25,000 fans in the Kingdome. That's how it's done, boys!

What stands out most for you about 1977? Have you forgiven Chursky yet? He did make several goal-saving plays in the match on either side of his historic blunder. It's hard not to look back on 1977 with both a sense of fondness and a twinge of melancholy over what could have been in the Final, and how much the Sounders of those days meant to the City of Seattle.

Visit our extensive 1977 Museum page.
Visit our NEW 1977 scrapbook!

Photo credit: The Sounders celebrate their 1977 Soccer Bowl goal. (Jenni Conner)
Conference Champions / Soccer Bowl '77 ring. (Ebay photo)

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