Sounders FC vs. New York Red Bulls
September 29, 2013, 6 pm PT; CenturyLink Field
TV/Radio: ESPN; 97.3 FM
Sounders FC is not a team that lacks for confidence.
When playing at CenturyLink Field, that self-assurance reaches a different level. Toting a 13-match home unbeaten streak that has helped elevate Seattle to the top of the Western Conference standings, the expectation isn’t just to earn a point with a hard-fought draw, but to win every time the team steps on the field at home. That is due in large part to the record numbers in support of the Sounders at CenturyLink Field each match.
“We’re confident on the road as well. But having those fans behind you definitely helps,” Sounders FC Head Coach Sigi Schmid said. “We get a lot of them on the road, too, but home games are definitely special.”
The team has exploded for six straight wins at CenturyLink Field and throughout the season has outscored its opposition 26-9 with seven shutouts.
Individually players have had standout success as a result.
All eight of Lamar Neagle’s goals have come at CenturyLink Field, while Obafemi Martins has six of his eight goals at home and Eddie Johnson has five of his eight goals. Additionally, Martins, Mauro Rosales and Brad Evans have four assists each in home matches.
While it isn’t the only factor in that success, players are fueled by the rampant support from the 43,180 fans who cross the turnstiles, on average, in each match at CenturyLink Field.
“Any team, when you play at home you play with a different mentality. The games at home are easier to get motivated,” Johnson said. “There’s an extra special feeling, coming out to see the people in the stands supporting you.”
Throughout the club’s history, Seattle has been a good road team as well, posting the second-best road record since 2009. Sounders FC is also third in the league at home in the same time, trailing only Real Salt Lake and the LA Galaxy by posting a 45-15-18 record at home.
With three of its final six matches coming at CenturyLink Field, it gives the team more confidence that it can finish the season in a strong standing. Currently leading the Western Conference and second in MLS at 15-8-5, Seattle has an opportunity to distance itself from its competition with those three home matches, especially considering that the Sounders also have games in hand on much of the rest of the teams in the league.
“We’re happy to play at home. We’re excited to play in front of our fans,” Schmid said. “Their will, their noise, their desire, their power that they exert during the game certainly helps us.”
Kickoff is set for 6 pm PT on the Xbox Pitch at CenturyLink Field.