Sounders FC vs. New York Red Bulls
September 29, 2013, 6 pm PT; CenturyLink Field
TV/Radio: ESPN; 97.3 FM
For the third time in club history, Sounders FC will host the New York Red Bulls in a match that will be televised nationally on ESPN when the two conference leaders square off on Sunday at CenturyLink Field.
If this one goes anything like the previous two, it will be a night to remember.
March 19, 2009
With an anxious crowd of 32,523 at CenturyLink Field on hand, Sounders FC took the field for the club’s inaugural match against a New York side that was an MLS Cup finalist the previous year.
In the 11th minute, Fredy Montero scored the first of 47 goals that he would tally for the Rave Green, taking a pass from Sebastien Le Toux on the right side of the box and driving it past New York goalkeeper Danny Cepero for the 1-0 lead.
Brad Evans added a second in the 25th minute, taking a pass from Montero up the left side and putting it through the legs of Cepero for the goal. Montero then put the game away, taking the ball off the feet of Mike Petke, then beating Cepero one-on-one for his second goal of the night and a 3-0 victory as Kasey Keller earned the first of 30 shutouts he would record in three seasons before his retirement following the 2011 season.
Of the 14 players who saw action for Seattle that night, five still play for the Sounders as the club built around a good mix of veterans and young talent.
Evans, Osvaldo Alonso, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado and Zach Scott all started the match while Steve Zakuani came off the bench. Aside from Scott, who will serve a one-match suspension for his red card against the LA Galaxy on Saturday, they will all be available for Sunday’s match.
By contrast, none of New York’s players in that match still plays for the Red Bulls and only three are still playing in MLS. Petke retired after the 2010 season and moved into an assistant coach’s role, where he remained until taking over head coaching duties this season.
“It’s a testament to what this club has been able to accomplish over the past five years. Bringing in a good group of guys from the beginning got us off to a good start,” Evans said. “It was kind of a tale of two teams at that point.”
Those five players who still remain have been contributors throughout their careers and are joined still by Patrick Ianni, who was on the bench that night.
“It speaks in its own way toward the organization. We’ve stayed a steady course. We haven’t panicked along the way. We’ve kept a semblance of continuity,” said Head Coach Sigi Schmid, who has also kept his entire coaching staff since the inaugural season. “I think continuity is a good thing if you have a good team.”
June 23, 2011
ESPN returned to Seattle for Sounders FC’s meeting with the Red Bulls in 2011 and got another spectacle when 46,065 fans were in attendance.
Erik Friberg and Alonso got Seattle out to a 2-0 lead by the 12th minute and New York responded with a Dane Richards goal in the 31st minute and an own-goal to equalize in the 58th minute. That set the stage for Roger Levesque.
The affable cult hero subbed into the match in the second half in search of his first goal of the season. In the 67th minute, Leo Gonzalez sent a corner kick to the near post, where Levesque ran onto it and flicked a header inside the far post to put the Sounders up 3-2.
In the 78th minute, he plunged further into club lore when he took the ball off the feet of goalkeeper Greg Sutton and walked it into the net for his second goal of the night and a 4-2 lead. He then raced over to the LED advertising boards and took a scuba dive over the back of them in a now-famous goal celebration.
Both wins were extremely memorable for Sounders FC fans and great displays for the national network. Seattle will look to do the same on Sunday when New York visits for the first time since 2011, this time pitting the top two teams in the MLS Supporters’ Shield standings against each other.