The Seattle Sounders will begin the quest to defend their MLS Cup title on the road in 2017, the first time in franchise history the team will not host the opening game at CenturyLink Field.
Major League Soccer on Wednesday announced that the Sounders will open next season against the Houston Dynamo at BBVA Compass Stadium on Saturday, March 4 at 5:30 pm. PT. Broadcast information will be released on a later date.
The Sounders will also play on the road in Week 2 against the Montreal Impact on March 11 at 4 p.m. PT before hosting their home opener at CenturyLink Field against the New York Red Bulls on Sunday, March 19. Kick off for the home opener is scheduled for 4 p.m. PT.
The Sounders will play their first two games on the road next year due to scheduled infrastructure improvements to CenturyLink Field. MLS is expected to announce the full schedule for all 22 teams in January.
Seattle boasted a 4-9-4 record away from home during the regular season in 2016 before posting a win over the Colorado Rapids in the Western Conference Championship in November. They also played Toronto FC to a scoreless draw at BMO Field in Toronto on Dec. 10 before ultimately prevailing in penalty kicks to win the first MLS Cup in franchise history.
Single-game tickets for Sounders home matches are not yet on sale, but season tickets are now available.
The season opener offers an intriguing challenge for the Sounders, who are winless in seven regular season meetings all-time against the Dynamo in Houston (0-3-4). The Dynamo finished 10th in the Western Conference last season, but the Sounders were forced to settle for a draw in all three of the teams' matchups in 2016.
In fact, Seattle needed a pair of stoppage-time goals from Chad Marshall and Nicolas Lodeiro to salvage 1-1 road draws in April and August, respectively. The two clubs played to a scoreless draw in October in Seattle.
The Red Bulls, meanwhile, boasted the best record in the Eastern Conference during the regular season in 2016 and they blanked Seattle 2-0 at Red Bull Arena in their only meeting last season on June 19. The Red Bulls ultimately lost to the Montreal Impact in the Eastern Conference semifinals, despite boasting MLS MVP candidates Bradley Wright-Phillips and Sacha Kljestan.
The Sounders and Red Bulls played a historic season opener at CenturyLink Field in 2009, the first MLS game in the Sounders’ franchise history. Sounders regulars Osvaldo Alonso and Brad Evans both started in a 3-0 win for the Sounders, and they remain the only players still with the team since its MLS debut seven years ago.