On this day seven years ago, it was announced that the 15th Major League Soccer team would belong to Seattle.
Since it entered the league, the club has reached the playoffs every year, won several trophies, and created lasting memories. In honor of its 7th birthday, here is a look back at seven of the most notable moments in Seattle Sounders FC history in the order they occurred.
Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Titles
In their very first season as an MLS team, the Sounders won the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup by virtue of a 2-1 victory over D.C. United in the Final. Five years later, they are four-time champions of the tournament, and two of those titles were won at CenturyLink Field. Seattle’s four Open Cup trophies are tied with the Chicago Fire for the most all-time by an MLS team.
Cascadia Cup / Attendance Record
On May 14, 2011, the Emerald City Supporters displayed a remarkable “Decades of Dominance” tifo before Seattle’s match against the Portland Timbers. The Sounders tied that game 1-1 in front of 36,593 fans. It was part of the third of five consecutive seasons in which Seattle broke the MLS attendance record. About four months later, a 3-1 victory at Vancouver Whitecaps FC clinched the first Cascadia Cup for Seattle since all three clubs became MLS teams.
Kasey Keller Send-off Match
A Sounders legend and arguably the best American goalkeeper of all time, Kasey Keller played in his final regular-season match on October 15, 2011. Just about everything went right that day for Keller and Seattle. A then-record crowd of 64,140 people watched the Sounders win 2-1 over the San Jose Earthquakes, who forced Keller into making seven saves, including a miraculous sequence of four saves in a 10-second span. The fans stuck around after the game for a ceremony honoring Keller.
Adrian Hanauer Retained as General Manager
Sounders FC is unique to MLS in that it embraces democracy in sports, giving fans have the ability to remove the team’s General Manager once every four years. From October to December of 2012, members of the Sounders FC Alliance voted on the fate of Adrian Hanauer, the club’s first GM. In each of Hanauer’s first four seasons, the Sounders reached the MLS Cup Playoffs and the Open Cup Final. He was voted to retain his position by more than 96 percent of fans.
Sounders Win Playoff Series for First Time
Despite qualifying for the playoffs each year, Seattle had yet to reach the Conference Championship until 2012. After earning the No. 3 seed in the Western Conference, the Sounders were matched up with Real Salt Lake in the Conference Semifinals. The first leg was a 0-0 draw at CenturyLink Field. Then on November 8, Mario Martinez scored in the 81st minute to give Sounders FC a 1-0 road win and its first playoff series victory.
Clint Dempsey Signs with Sounders
On August 3, 2013, the captain of the U.S. Men’s National Team officially signed with Sounders FC. Clint Dempsey returned to MLS after seven years in the English Premier League. He signed as the highest-paid player in league history, and since that day, Dempsey has 17 goals and 11 assists in helping the club win multiple trophies.
Supporters’ Shield Champions
The Sounders were in first place for the majority of the 2014 regular season. With two matches to go, they found themselves tied on points with the LA Galaxy, a side they happened to be facing in those final two games. A draw at LA set up the most dramatic regular-season finale MLS has seen. Sounders FC came away with a 2-0 victory at home thanks to a pair of late goals by Marco Pappa, giving the club its first Supporters’ Shield. Now up against the Galaxy in the Conference Championship, the Sounders have a chance to become the first team to achieve the American treble of an Open Cup, Supporters’ Shield, and MLS Cup in the same season.