Sounders FC vs. FC Dallas
August 3, 2013, 7:30 p.m. PT; CenturyLink Field
TV/Radio: KING 5; KIRO Radio 97.3 FM; La Gran D 99.3 FM (Spanish)
The supporters at CenturyLink Field show up in unprecedented numbers and provide an advantage for Sounders FC unlike any other in Major League Soccer.
However, there is something more to Seattle’s success at home that has seen the team go 5-0-3 in its last eight matches at CenturyLink Field. Sounders FC has a chance to surpass the club record eight-match unbeaten streak on Saturday when against FC Dallas and some of that dominance may come from the grounds of the home stadium.
There are obvious advantages to playing at home – home-cooked meals, sleeping in your own bed and friendly fans just to name a few. And while Sounders FC has had success on the road as well, posting the second-best record in the league away from home since joining the league in 2009, the team has also been quite formidable at home.
“We do a very good job playing here,” midfielder and captain Mauro Rosales said. “We are a tough team to beat in our field.”
Part of that success comes from the way Seattle plays right from the opening whistle.
“I think what we try and do is get off to a good start to the games. For the opponent, it takes them a while to adjust to the field and to the atmosphere and the crowd. So if we can jump on them early, that’s always a benefit to us,” Head Coach Sigi Schmid said. “Sometimes that means goals, but what it really means is that it gives them thoughts that it’s going to be a long night and that hurts them psychologically.”
Dating back to 2009, Seattle has the sixth-best home record at 1.89 points per match and has been even better this season, averaging two points per match. The current eight-match unbeaten streak at CenturyLink Field is the fourth-longest in the league this season.
One of the advantages Seattle holds comes in the surface at CenturyLink Field. The pitch is one of four in the league that uses an artificial surface, so Sounders FC is more accustomed to playing on the grounds than the majority of its opponents.
While Schmid said it isn’t ideal for Seattle’s playing style of playing the ball into space behind the defense, the club has been able to adapt.
“It helps us from the standpoint that we’re a little more use to it than opponents coming in here,” he said.
Of course, with all of the other elements working in Seattle’s favor, it always helps the players to know that nearly 40,000 fans in the stands for every match.
“It’s always good to play in front of the fans,” midfielder Osvaldo Alonso said. “It’s always good to give the fans the victory.”