Another new attendance record will be set in Sounders FC's regular season finale on Sunday and the team appreciates every screaming voice in the stands, home and away, that has helped build the best supporters culture in MLS.
Sunday night at CenturyLink Field, Sounders FC will set the MLS attendance record for a fifth consecutive season when over 64,000 fans cross the turnstiles for the regular season finale against the LA Galaxy.
Seattle currently averages a league-best 42,652, and Sunday's attendance will raise the average enough to best the 2012 mark of 43,144. Every year, the fans have not only raised the bar for the attendance record, but also for their passionate support for the club, both at home and on the road.
“Our fans have been amazing. It’s been humbling and made me really proud to be part of this community to see the support that the team gets and the support the players and coaches get. In good times and in bad,” said Sounders FC Owner and General Manager Adrian Hanauer. “It’s been a little bit of a rollercoaster season, but our fans have stuck behind us. It means a lot and it keeps the guys motivated to continue to perform. It’s been an amazing run and we want to keep that going.”
Goalkeeper Marcus Hahnemann’s professional career spanned over 350 matches in England while playing with Fulham, Rochdale, Reading, Wolverhampton and Everton, but it was those fans that brought him out of retirement to play again for Sounders FC.
Asked what his biggest motivation was in the final match against the Galaxy on Sunday, he had a simple answer.
“The 67,000 people that will be coming to the game, that’s my motivation. And most of the guys on the team,” Hahnemann said. “There’s no more motivation that you need than that. Look at our stadium. That’s one of the reasons I wanted to come play. The atmosphere and the support we get from the city. There’s nothing better than that.”
Head Coach Sigi Schmid has been in Major League Soccer nearly every year since 1999 and has seen the highs and lows of the league in stops with the LA Galaxy and Columbus Crew. Now finishing his fifth season at the helm of Sounders FC, he wants to give the fans a fitting conclusion to the season, especially after losing four straight matches heading into the final bout before the playoffs start.
“The fans, as always, mean everything. They’ve been disappointed over the last few games, but the fans mean everything for us and we’ve tried to reward the fans,” Schmid said. “No matter what happens on Sunday, we need to show our respect for the fans because they’ve been there with us when things are going good and when things are going not so good. They’ve always had our back. Hopefully they continue to have our back and I want them to know that we have their backs as well.”
This year, Sounders FC went on a club record 14-match home unbeaten streak and on Sunday have a chance to post the second-best home record in the league. At 10-2-4, Seattle also needs just one point to match the club’s best-ever home record, set in 2012 at 11-4-2. Better still has been Seattle’s record when capacity expands.
When attendance exceeds 55,000, Seattle is 6-0-0 and has outscored the opposition 14-1.
“It’s pretty incredible. I think it’s a huge advantage for us. It’s kind of like we’re at home every game. It’s a big advantage for us and all of us appreciate it,” said defender DeAndre Yedlin. “We’re playing for them and we’re playing for ourselves. Our main goal is to bring the trophy to Seattle and hand it off to them and let them enjoy it.”
Fan giveaways include the following:
• Ten companion fare coupons from Amtrak Cascades
• Two round trip tickets from Amtrak Cascades
• Flowers courtesy of Ballard Blossom
• Three "Dinner for Four" coupons from Chipotle
• Two Delta Air Lines economy class flight certificates anywhere in the Continental U.S. and Canada
• One hundred twenty Sounders FC themed lunch boxes courtesy of Delta Dental
• Twenty four thousand Jack in the Box coupons
• Twenty Orca Cards from Sound Transit
• More than 100 autograph items signed by members of the 2013 Sounders team
• Two sets of two 2014 Sounders FC season ticket memberships
• Eighty Sounders FC fleece blankets from Washington Lottery
• Thirty Sounders FC cinch sacks from Washington Lottery