On Sunday, the Seattle Sounders will host reigning MLS Cup champion Atlanta United at CenturyLink Field (12:55 p.m. PT; ESPN, YouTube TV, 950 KJR AM, El Rey 1360 AM; TICKETS). Here are five reasons to attend the match, with tickets still available on SeatGeek, the Official Ticketing Partner of Sounders FC.
The RAVE Foundation, the official charitable arm of Sounders FC, utilizes soccer as an instrument for bringing communities together. Supporters can help this week by participating in the RAVE Auction, which will have player-signed gear and other exclusive items that can be bid upon. One way the RAVE Foundation gives back to the Greater Seattle Area is by building soccer pitches for free play in locations that have limited access to soccer. You can let RAVE know where you’d like to see the next RAVE Field by posting #Fans4Fields on social media and tagging @RaveFound. Lastly, supporters are encouraged to take part in the “Get a ball, Give a ball” initiative, where you can purchase a soccer ball for $20 and another ball will be donated by the RAVE Foundation to a child in the Seattle community.
If the Sounders manage to reach MLS Cup again this season, which would be the third time in four years, Atlanta United is among the favorites to be their opponent coming out of the Eastern Conference. The reigning MLS Cup champions faltered out of the gates this season, struggling to cope with the loss of star player Miguel Almirón while implementing the tactical system of new head coach Frank de Boer. But the team has steadily climbed the table, currently occupying third in the Eastern Conference. Between former U.S. men’s national team goalkeeper Brad Guzan and South American standouts Josef Martínez, Ezequiel Barco and Pity Martínez, Sunday’s match is sure to have plenty of fireworks.
For the first time in what seems like ages, Seattle Sounders Head Coach Brian Schmetzer will have his full complement of players available, with the exception forward Will Bruin, who suffered an ACL injury during the international break. Injuries, international call-ups and a grueling road schedule saw the team’s red-hot start to the 2019 season cool off a bit in June. Now that the Copa América and Concacaf Gold Cup have concluded, all of Seattle’s big-name players will don the Rave Green jersey once again.
With Copa América and Gold Cup wrapped up, the Sounders roster will be bolstered by returning international players | Jane Gershovich
Speaking of road trips and international tournaments, it’s been nearly two months since some of the Sounders’ top talents have played at CenturyLink Field. While the likes of Jordy Delem, Gustav Svensson, Román Torres, Nicolás Lodeiro, Joevin Jones and Xavier Arreaga all returned to action last week, only Svensson participated in the team’s 1-0 home win over the Vancouver Whitecaps. Along with Raúl Ruidíaz, Jordan Morris and Cristian Roldan, none of those players have played a match at CenturyLink Field since the team’s 1-0 win against Orlando City SC on May 15.
One silver lining of the past six weeks is that some of the top young talents at the club were given meaningful minutes in MLS competition. Sounders Academy has catapulted into the conversation of top talent producers in the country in recent years, That success in player development has started to matriculate to the First Team, as 16-year-old midfielder Danny Leyva impressed as a starter in wins over the Vancouver Whitecaps and Columbus Crew SC. Additionally, 17-year-old striker Alfonso Ocampo-Chavez showed plenty of flashes across his two substitute appearances and one start.