Top 10: The best moments of the Sounders FC at CenturyLink Field

Seven years.

Just two weeks ago, Seattle Sounders FC started its 2015 season, its seventh in MLS. For each of those years, the club has made memories at CenturyLink Field, the team’s home turf in Downtown Seattle. With the announcement of a 10-year extension earlier today, the Rave Green will continue to call the stadium home through 2028.

To mark this moment, we’ve assembled the top 10 moments from the team’s time at CenturyLink Field.


2014 Supporters’ Shield Win

2014 was the arguably the best season in the club’s history. Sounders FC accumulated a 20-10-4 record and, in its final regular-season contest, claimed the Supporters’ Shield in front of over 57,000 fans at CenturyLink Field on October 25. The stadium was electrified following two late goals by Marco Pappa, who came on as a substitute in the 73rd minute.

“For me, it was really special. I think I’m always going to remember that moment,” said Pappa when he reflected on the goal that helped secure the team’s victory over the LA Galaxy. “Everything happened too fast in that play.”

The win marked the first regular-season title in club history, guaranteed the Rave Green home-field advantage throughout the MLS Cup Playoffs and capped off a season that also included a Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup championship in September.

First Match

The team may have been born in 1974, but on March 19, 2009, Seattle Sounders FC debuted as MLS’ 15th franchise.

In front of a sellout crowd of 32,523, the Sounders launched into the league with a nationally televised, 3-0 win over the New York Red Bulls. The match featured a brace from Designated Player Fredy Montero by way of the first goal in franchise history in the 12th minute and a late insurance tally following a score by Brad Evans. Goalkeeper Kasey Keller earned his first MLS clean sheet before going on to set a league record for the most minutes without allowing a goal (457) to start a season.

Open Cup Wins

After winning the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup in the team’s inaugural 2009 season, the only thing left to do was to win it at home. The Sounders didn’t stop there, as they won back-to-back finals at CenturyLink Field in 2010 and 2011.

After advancing through the 2010 tournament by defeating Portland, the LA Galaxy and Chivas USA, Sounders FC hosted the Columbus Crew in the final in Seattle. It became the first team since 1983 to repeat as U.S. Open Cup champions, winning the match 2-1 in front of over 31,000 supporters.

Just a year later, history repeated itself as the club claimed its third Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup in a 2-0 victory over the Chicago Fire. The crowd continued to grow, with the match being held in Seattle in front of a tournament-record 35,615 fans. The win marked the first time in 42 years that a team won three straight Open Cups.

Debut of Clint Dempsey

August 3, 2013 marked the end of all the speculation.

In front of a packed house of 39,260 for a match against FC Dallas, Clint Dempsey made truth out of the rumors as he stepped onto the Xbox Pitch prior to kickoff with Majority Owner Joe Roth. He unzipped a gray hoodie to reveal a Rave Green jersey, introducing himself to the Sounders faithful for the first time. A few weeks later, Dempsey made his CenturyLink Field debut for the Sounders against Portland before a crowd of 67,385, which ranked among the five largest in the world for a soccer match that weekend.

Kasey Keller’s Last Match

If Dempsey’s unveiling was special for being the beginning of an era, the last match of the indomitable Kasey Keller was something just as special.

After a glittering career that spanned three decades, four countries and over 100 caps for the U.S. National Team, Keller decided to hang up the boots after the 2011 season. His final match of the regular season came against the San Jose Earthquakes in mid-October, a game that the Sounders eventually won thanks in large part to Keller’s heroics in net.

MLS Goals of the Year

Yes, goals. Two of them have been scored at CenturyLink Field since Sounders FC joined North America’s top-flight soccer league.

First in 2012, then-Sounders defender Patrick Ianni volleyed in an absolute worldy from a free kick on the far sideline, all in one tidy scissor-kicking motion. No one was more surprised than Ianni, it would seem.

Then in May of last season, Obafemi Martins wowed us all with an incredible chip from the tightest of angles across then-San Jose goalkeeper Jon Busch’s goal. Just a fantastic effort.

FIFA World Cup Qualifying In Seattle

It had been a long time since the U.S. National Team brought World Cup qualifying to the Emerald City. Some 37 years to be exact.

When the decision was finally made to bring Jurgen Klinsmann’s men to CenturyLink Field for a meaningful match, the city did not disappointment. One of the best atmospheres for a match the team had seen in some time, the 2-0 result against Panama will certainly go down as one of the most special days in the stadium’s history.

 

Michael Bradley really likes Seattle. #USAvPAN

A photo posted by Seattle Sounders FC (@soundersfc) on

Full Capacity Madness

Speaking of a ridiculous atmosphere, how about the time the Sounders completely sold out CenturyLink Field in 2013 for the club’s visit from the hated Portland Timbers? Yes, that means nearly 68,000 were on hand for a Major League Soccer fixture.

Wasn’t the first time either. In 2012, 66,000 were in the house for the Timbers match and in 2014, 64,000 filled the seats. In 2011, over 64,000 were on hand for the aforementioned farewell match for Kasey Keller, and in 2012, another gaggle of 60,000 Rave Green screamers got their ticket punched for the Sounders' match with the LA Galaxy.

Yeah, CenturyLink Field makes quite a good venue for a soccer match.

Friendlies Can Be Fun, Too

The Sounders have also hosted a number of the world’s biggest clubs at CenturyLink Field over the years for international friendlies.

Teams like Barcelona, Chelsea, Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur and Boca Juniors are just a few of the internationally recognized sides that have taken the Xbox Pitch to take on the Rave Green.

Next up is a visit from one of the top clubs in Mexico – Club Tijuana – in a match that will help the Sounders prep for their upcoming return to the CONCACAF Champions League.

2009 MLS Cup Final

The Sounders may not have been in it, but the 2009 MLS Cup Final was played at CenturyLink Field when the LA Galaxy and Real Salt Lake battled to a thrilling 1-1 result that ended with RSL winning on penalties.

It was RSL’s first-ever MLS Cup title, and the stadium enjoyed the contest despite Seattle not reaching that stage of the playoffs. A very respectable 46,000 were in the stands for the match that determined the champion of MLS’ 14th season.

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