He might be a native of Portland, Maine, but Roger Levesque has found a home in the Pacific Northwest.
Maybe none more comfortable than the cozy confines of Tukwila’s Starfire Sports Stadium, part of a plush 54-acre athletic facility that has become a local soccer mecca in just five short years.
And while Levesque, a starting forward for Seattle Sounders FC, does not play all of his games at the Tukwila-based stadium, he certainly has found a liking to the turf, its surroundings and, potentially most of all, the results he has enjoyed.
“I think I’m just comfortable there,” said Levesque, who will lead Sounders FC into a U.S. Open Cup semifinal showdown against Chivas USA of Los Angeles on Sept. 1 at 7:30 p.m. at Starfire. “I’ve been in Seattle a long time, and that’s where the lower-division team (in the USL) played a lot of their games. So it’s a comfort level. I’m familiar with the settings at Starfire.”
“He is the prince of Starfire,” said Sounders fitness coach David Tenney with a laugh, only half kidding. “Roger is much better at Starfire.”
Indeed he is.
Levesque, who first came to here on loan from the San Jose Earthquakes in 2003 when Seattle was part of the second-tier A-League, has scored 39 goals in a Sounders uniform — 35 during the regular season and postseason play, and four more in the U.S. Open Cup. Of those 39 goals, six have come at Starfire.
The 29-year-old forward has a flare for the dramatic, too. The Sounders, in their second year of Major League Soccer play, are the defending Open Cup champions — thanks in a big way to Levesque, who scored the game winner with four minutes left in regulation time to beat D.C. United in Washington last September, 2-1.
As big as the goal was to his teammates, Levesque plays down his role on that particular shot.
“I’ve been around long enough to know to get myself in good position in front of the goal at dangerous times,” he said matter-of-factly. “Sometimes they go in, sometimes they don’t.”
vs. CHIVAS USA
WHAT: U.S. Open Cup
WHERE: Starfire Sports Stadium (14800 Starfire Way, Tukwila, WA 98188)
WHEN: Sept. 1, 7:30 p.m.
TICKETS: To purchase tickets, go online to www.starfiresports.com.
COST: $18. All tickets are general admission.
GAME-DAY PARKING PASS: $15. Pre-paid game-day parking passes guarantee a spot in the Starfire Sports lot until 7:15 p.m. Parking is limited.