CenturyLink Field set to open up for the first full stadium match of 2014 season

Sounders FC vs. San Jose Earthquakes

MLS Regular Season
Saturday, May 17; 7 pm PT; CenturyLink Field
TV/Radio: Q13 FOX; KIRO Radio 97.3 FM; THIS-TV, KOMO2 (Spanish); ESPN Deportes Radio, 1490 AM (Spanish)

For players both home and away, there is always a different sensation walking onto the XBOX Pitch at CenturyLink Field, thanks to the roar of the 38,623 fans that crossed the turnstiles at each of the club's first six matches this season. On Saturday, that feeling will be amplified as the stadium will be opened to full capacity for the first time this season.

The feeling after the match for Sounders FC players and fans has been the same in all 11 matches that have been opened up. Seattle is 8-0-3 all-time when attendance exceeds 40,000, and 7-0-1 when the stadium is opened to its full capacity.

"We want a big crowd because I think our record is pretty good when we play in front of those crowds," Sounders FC Head Coach Sigi Schmid said. "I think we did a good job in our last three home games of rewarding our home fans with three victories and we certainly want to keep our streak going at home. So we're excited about the big crowd and we're excited about being at home."

While the returning players for Seattle have played in that atmosphere before, it will also be a first-time experience to many who are new to the club.

Chad Marshall played 10 seasons with the Columbus Crew, whose stadium has a capacity of 20,145. And while the Crew had tremendous crowds, the potential to triple that figure has Marshall enthused for Saturday's match.

"It's going to be a crazy environment. I'm excited to play in it," he said. "Even playing in front of 45 (thousand) is crazy, so I can't imagine them opening up the top. It's going to be a great atmosphere so hopefully we put on a good show and get back to our winning ways."

In addition to the big crowd, Sounders FC is also looking forward to getting back on the field and avenge a 5-0 defeat to the New England Revolution on Sunday. It was the first road loss of the year for Seattle, halting a five-match winning streak and leaving Seattle hungry to get back on the winning side of the ledger.

"It will be a nice atmosphere and we can't wait to get back on the field to show what we have after a 5-0 loss," said Lamar Neagle, who noted that the team still has plenty of confidence. "You have to remember the lesson and forget the event. You definitely have to learn from it. Although it's 5-0, it still just one game that you lost. It counts as one loss the same, although it may sting a little bit more. We are still a good team and we believe in ourselves."

Last year, Seattle opened the stadium up four times. The club went 3-0-1 in those matches, outscoring the opposition 7-3, while posting shutouts against the top two teams in the Western Conference standings last year, the Portland Timbers and Real Salt Lake.

This year, the club is opening the stadium up for five regular season matches, including matches against the Timbers on July 13, the Houston Dynamo on August 10, the Whitecaps on October 10 and the LA Galaxy on October 25.

Saturday's match kicks off at 7 pm PT with television coverage on Q13 FOX.

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