Sounders FC safe and sound in Honduras
Aug 18, 2010, 9:22 AM | Updated: Apr 5, 2011, 9:50 am
By BILL SWARTZ
710 ESPN/97.3 KIRO FM
Bill Swartz is in Honduras with the Sounders FC to cover the team’s CONCACAF champions league soccer match on Thursday.
It was a zoo at Boeing field when Sounders FC and invited guests boarded a charter flight for Central America.
With President Obama due in later in the morning, we had extra wandings at a security check point on the tarmac.
The first leg of the flight took us to Laredo, Texas for a refueling stop. At that time, the club learned midfielder Osvaldo Alonzo did not have his passport sent in time. He’s originally from Cuba, so would he be allowed into Honduras?
I had a nice informal chat with coach Sigi Schmid and radio color commentator Pete Fewing about their college soccer coaching. Both agreed it was a privilege to fly on a first class charter to Central America. Both men used to actually wash soccer uniforms for their players and drive vans to matches in the U.S. How far the sport has come in Seattle and America.
As we expected, the weather in Honduras is muggy, sticky and humid. We had a fairly uneventful trip through customs at San Pedro Sula airport, despite having players from eight different countries on the roster. Customs agents did have several questions for Alonzo and the team leaders, but allowed him to proceed with the trip. Sounders hope his passport arrives Wednesday via courier. There were several television and newspaper cameramen at the airport, so we’re expecting this to be a major sports event in Honduras.
On our bus ride into town we sloshed through rain swollen streets, giving us an idea of how hard it must have dumped during the day. The downtown area is modern with familiar U.S. fast food restaurants on the main streets. There’s even an espresso shop across from our hotel.
We quickly checked in and followed the team over to a training stadium just a few blocks from the hotel. It was 8 p.m. and still very muggy with thick wet grass.
We’ll likely have the same playing conditions against Marathon Thursday night.
Defender Tyrone Marshall told me he has played in the main stadium in San Pedro Sula during a Jamaica vs. Honduras World Cup qualifier last year. Schmid said the trip to El Salvador last month has prepared his team better for this Central American journey.
Cell phone service is a bit erratic in Honduras, but we’ll attempt to give you more observations Wednesday and Thursday morning on both 710 ESPN Seattle and newstalk 97.3 KIRO FM.
Note: Steve Zakuani did not make the trip due to injury and Sanna Nyassi is not allowed to play in this match because he received two yellow cards during the series against Metapan.