On Saturday (Dec. 9), just before 4:30 p.m. ET at Toronto’s BMO Field, Samantha Gongol of alt-pop duo Marian Hill will sing the national anthem, prior to the showdown between Seattle Sounders FC and Toronto FC for the MLS Cup.
Gongol sang the anthem prior to a Philadelphia 76ers NBA game in 2004, but singing prior to the MLS Cup 13 years later will be something totally new.
“I’m older, so I’ll be less nervous,” Gongol tells Billboard. “And it sounds like I’m gonna be a lot colder.” (Temperatures in Toronto aren’t expected to reach above 1 degree Celsius — 33.8 degrees Fahrenheit — at any point tomorrow, with “scattered flurries” a possibility, too.)
Gongol continues: “As I’ve gotten older, I’ve made a lot of friends who are huge soccer fans, but this is a new experience for me. I’ve never really been to a pro soccer game. I’m looking forward to it, though.”
Growing up, Gongol played field hockey. She remembers “Bring Em Out” by T.I. as being her team’s go-to game day song before taking the field. “I think [sports and music] have become intertwined,” Gongol offers. “I think music helps you get in the mindset, and we’ve been really lucky that athletes in various different have used our music — sometimes in their highlight reels, sometimes in their walk-up song in baseball.”
And what would her pre-game playlist would be if she were a player for tomorrow’s MLS Cup?
“It’s really just what I’m listening to at the time,” Gongol offers. “But my jam right now is ‘Money’ by Leikeli47. I just love that right now. But it generally has to be darker, I feel like, to get me in the zone. I love like ‘Legend’ and ‘Energy’ by Drake. I’ve been into Goldlink recently, too. So there’s a lot of hip-hop.”
The MLS Cup will air in the United States on ESPN and TSN in Canada. Listen to Marian Hill’s 2017 breakthrough hit “Down,” as well as Gongol’s would-be pre-game playlist, below: