Throughout all of the press conferences, one-on-one interviews and jam-packed media scrums this week, one word keeps popping up from every member of the Sounders organization: opportunity.
When the club hosts Toronto FC in the MLS Cup Final at CenturyLink Field on Sunday (12:00 p.m. PT; ABC, Univision, 950 KJR AM, El Rey 1360 AM), the Rave Green have a chance to win a championship on home soil.
It’s an opportunity to lift a second MLS Cup trophy in four seasons. It’s an opportunity to get revenge against the team that beat them in the 2017 final. It’s an opportunity etch their names in MLS history.
But above all else, it’s an opportunity to reward the faithful supporters that helped catapult the club into Major League Soccer’s upper echelon from the first whistle of the inaugural match against the New York Red Bulls back on March 19, 2009.
“We have the best fans in the league,” said Homegrown winger Jordan Morris. “They show up game in, game out and make this a tough place to come play.
“Our fans just deserve this. They deserve the chance to have this game at home. And obviously if we get a win, it will mean a lot for this city.”
Playing in front of a sell-out crowd at CenturyLink Field, the vast majority of whom will be supporting the Sounders, the team won’t be overawed by occasion. Instead, they’ll feed off the vigor of the crowd, just like they’ve done since 2009.
“We’re used to playing in front of big crowds,” said Head Coach Brian Schmetzer. “Our fans have always supported us. It’s going to be a big, big event, the energy in the building, I know, is going to be tremendous.”
Schmetzer is fond of saying that the club is the connection between the supports and the players. That intrinsic bond, which has fueled Seattle’s runs to three MLS Cup appearances in four seasons, will be the key to Seattle defeating Toronto FC.
“You want to give your home fans something for supporting you the whole season,” said right back Kelvin Leerdam. “I think this is already a big thing for the city, for the team, for the whole club. It’s an amazing feeling.”
With almost 70,000 supporters at CenturyLink Field on Sunday, the Sounders will have a unique home-field advantage. But all that means is the Sounders have an opportunity. The coaching staff and players will make sure they do everything they can to capitalize on it, rewarding the faithful fans that have cheered them on throughout the years.
“We are not taking this game lightly at all,” added Schmetzer. “We are going through every single detail we can to make sure that we give the players the tools to be effective in the game on Sunday.”