Whitecaps supporters are concerned over rumours Seattle may potentially limit the tickets allocated for a visiting team’s supporters, threatening the natural “derby” match rivalries of the Pacific Northwest.
The “away game” phenomenon, or derby, sees hundreds, even thousands, of fans follow their team to an opposing stadium, singing and chanting.
Whitecaps president Bob Lenarduzzi said the issue is on the franchise’s radar and a solution is being worked out for the three Cascadian MLS franchises.
“They’re trying to use American-style sport marketing in a sport that is just inherently not American,” said John Knox, president of the Vancouver Southsiders supporter group.
“They don’t really have an understanding of what supporters culture is about and why this is so important to all of us who have been chomping at the bit to see our rivals on their own turf.”
Knox said they’ve been hearing rumblings that the Seattle Sounders FC have security concerns and have considered limiting the number of tickets allocated for visiting team supporters to 150.
Lenarduzzi said the situation is being discussed among the three clubs (Vancouver, Seattle and the Portland Timbers) and the league.
“It’s not something that is not on the radar screen. It is. And once we get to a point where we can confirm what can be done, then we will.”
Lenarduzzi, who began his playing career in England before joining his hometown NASL Whitecaps, remembers large groups of Vancouver supporters heading to Seattle to watch the games and vice versa.