Explaining away the absence of some of his best-known players from Boca Junior's roster on this U.S. tour, coach Roberto Pompei came up with one of my favorite quotes ever today:
“We know people wanted to see (our top) players, but they’re training for the World Cup right now," he said through a translator. "The reality is that the fans want to see the shirts of Boca, so that’s what they’re happy to see.”
The shirts of Boca is what the fans want to see...
That's a fine little take on Jerry Seinfeld's observation that sports fans actually root for laundry.
But really, if you want to see a shirt, it's hard to do much better than Boca's. Those blue shirts with the gold horizontal stripe feature a crest dotted with 50 stars. Each represents one of the club’s cups or titles, including three world and six South American championships. And there's no shortage of color in their 105-year history:
*The first word in the club’s name – Boca – comes from the Buenos Aires neighborhood where it was founded. The second part – Juniors – was a nod to the youth of the founding members of the new club (the English word was selected for a perceived touch of class).
*Those colors were chosen by fate. One of the early club leaders suggested going to a bridge and adopting the colors of the next ship to sail under it. That next ship flew under the blue and gold flag of Sweden.
*Players who have worn those Boca colors include current Columbus Crew star Guillermo Barros Schelotto and the immortal Diego Maradona.
*The club plays in La Bombonera, one of the unique stadiums in all the world.
*In a tradition Seahawks fans can appreciate, Boca honors its fans as “El Jugador No. 12”: Player No. 12.
Match all that tradition against the debut of the Sounders' electricity-yellow kits, and I think Wednesday night's match projects as a fun couple of hours in a season in which purely fun games have been rare.
Here's a quick look ahead:
BOCA JUNIORSAT SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Qwest Field.TV: KONG 6/16 and Fox Soccer Channel.RADIO: 97.3 FM (1210 AM in Spanish).NOTES: The Sounders will wear their alternate “electricity” yellow kits for the first time. … Sounders FC is 0-2 when hosting international friendlies, and has yet to score a goal. In its expansion season, Seattle lost to Chelsea, 2-0, and to Barcelona, 4-0. … Boca is the first South American club to play the Sounders at Qwest Field. The Sounders trained in Argentina during the 2009 preseason and went 2-1-1 against Argentine reserve sides. … Sounders rookie Miguel Montano played the previous two seasons for reserves of Quilmes Athletico, a fifth-tier club in the Argentine development structure. … Tickets remain available*. The club reports that about 38,000 had been sold by midweek, assuring that this will be the third-largest crowd to watch the Sounders. Visits by Chelsea and Barcelona last season each drew more than 65,000. However, the next-largest crowd was the 36,273 that turned out for this season’s May 8 league match against Los Angeles. … Sounders FC recommends that fans arrive early, due to the possible mix of crowds coming to the soccer match and leaving the afternoon Mariners’ game at Safeco Field. … Season-ticket holders are reminded to bring their “A” ticket.NEXT: Sounders FC returns to MLS play 6 p.m. Saturday at Colorado.
*The Sounders also send out this notice: Sounders FC announced a "Friends and Family 4 Pack" which will include four match tickets and all you can eat hot dogs, sodas and stadium snacks for $96. These seats are located in the all-inclusive food and beverage sections.