Excitement builds over Sounders home opener

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By Toby Dunkelberg

On March 19, 2009 the Seattle Sounders made their first steps into first division soccer in decades. They faced the New York Red Bulls in a 3-0 nationally televised thrashing that announced their intent to be the pinnacle of soccer in America. Eight years later to the day they’ll face off agains the same foe, once again in their home opener and once again in front of a national TV audience.  This time there’ll be one major difference – the gold star above the otherwise familiar Sounders crest.

The 2017 home opener will be the Sounders first match in Seattle since winning they won the 2016 MLS Cup, and the Sounders are making sure to make it a match worth remembering with numerous special giveaways occurring before the match celebrating last years run. The focal point of the festivities will be during the pre-game ceremony when the Sounders are set to unveil their 2016 MLS Cup Championship Banner up in CenturyLink Fields rafters, among other Sounders accomplishments from the 2014 Supporters Shield to their A-League and USL Championships.

The Sounders have opened more seats than they have for any other home opener with crowds expected to top 40,000 as tickets are still being sold. With the Sunday having a 0% chance of rain that number is likely to rise.

But when the festivities end and the starting whistle blows the 11 Sounders on the field will have their hands full. After going down 2-0 in their first two games of the season there’s room for improvement from Bryan Schmetzer’s side. He’s been the first to stress that they need to start games better. That task’ll be made harder with the absence of Roman Torres who’s serving a one game suspension for violent conduct in the Sounders game against Montreal. The Red Bulls will stretch an already shaky looking backline while the Sounders attack hope to finish their chemistry building so they can move onto scoring goals.

Festivities, match, and a sunny day in March. It’s sure to be an opening to remember. All that’s left is to see if the Sounders can match that fervor they came out with eight years ago.
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