At last, Sounders Matchdays at CenturyLink Field are almost here!
While the empty stadium and different schedule will certainly add a unique wrinkle, there are still plenty of reasons to be excited about next stage of the 2020 MLS season.
Let’s dive in:
Every point matters
The Sounders sit 5th in the MLS Western Conference with eight points from five matches. Due to a combination of a small sample size and 2020 being utter chaos, the Rave Green sit just two points ahead of the Vancouver Whitecaps in 9th and four points back of Sporting Kansas City in 1st.
With the compressed schedule and Seattle’s 11-season playoff streak on the line, the margin for error has been drastically reduced. As Head Coach Brian Schmetzer likes to point out, this group never quits, and will enter every fixture ready to fight for three points.
Seattle’s first six games of the resumed regular season are jam-packed with must-watch fixtures.
After taking on the Timbers at Providence Park – the last time Seattle played in Portland, they came brought the 2019 Cascadia Cup back with them – the Sounders will take on an LA Galaxy side boasting a star-studded roster. The Rave Green will then return home to host LAFC in a clash of Western Conference titans before heading to Utah to face Real Salt Lake, a matchup that has produced some of the most memorable goals over the past decade.
After all of that, they’ll wrap up their six-game schedule with a pair of home fixtures against the Timbers and a pesky San Jose side that utilizes one of the most enigmatic tactical systems in North America.
Time to turn it on
Whether it’s the 2016 turnaround that resulted in the club’s first MLS Cup, the 2017 tear that returned the club to the title match, the 2018 campaign that featured the best half season in league history, or the nail-biting run that culminated in Seattle collecting their second star, the Sounders have a penchant for getting results when their backs are against the wall.
With 18 matches to go, look for the Sounders to produce one of their trademarked second-half spells.
There are two universal truths: Sounders never quit, and they dominate within the confines of CenturyLink Field. It’s been over a year since they last suffered a home defeat. Caveats about the pandemic aside, they’re 12-2-4 over their last 18 MLS regular season matches at home.
The kids are alright
The future is now.
Seattle fans got a glimmer of the tidal wive of talented prospects emerging from the club’s revamped player development setup at the MLS is Back Tournament. Winger Shandon Hopeau, 21, showcased his direct attacking style, while 18-year-old Homegrowns Josh Atencio and Ethan Dobbelaere impressed in limited minutes.
With six matches in 18 days, the kids will get plenty of opportunities to prove they can make meaningful contributions at the MLS level.