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Schedule Released - advantage Seattle

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There is so much more I could write about today, but I will focus on the little bit of joy in the new Major League Soccer schedule. There are some great nuggets for the soccer fan hidden in here.

First, we open the entire season, we already knew this, but still I can't wait for the 19th of March. 13 years we have been waiting for this moment.

Second, SSFC's intra conference games are pretty good for their quest for the playoffs, especially if Sacha Klejstan is transferred out of the league.

Two Away and one home against CD Chivas USA, and 2 Home 1 Away with last year's expansion Earthquakes. The extra home & away games happen in the first half. So we the fans will know how we stand for the rest of the fixtures after that. The goal in those extras is a quite simple 4 points. With that it puts Sounders FC 10% of the way to the playoffs, as 40 points almost always gets a club into the Cup hunt.

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In the first half of the season Seattle will be on national TV 4 times. Twice on ESPN showing the rocking XBox pitch in all its glory, once on FSC and once on Telefutura. This section is slightly weighted towards home, but only 8 to 7. The only tight part of the schedule is the Home/Home against the Quakes and DC United who will be coming from the East Coast and their game against Chicago on the 13th.

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That second half looks worse than it is. Sure it is weighted to the Away side, especially with the two 3 game Away stretches, but there are some bright spots.

First there will be no NFL lines with that kind of schedule. It is just too easy to work around only two home dates during the Seahawks season.

Second the early July and early September breaks will be great for a young club that will have at least 1 starter (Zakuani) and maybe as many as 3 who have never played a 30 game season before, the rest will help.

Third, that October stretch of Eastern and Central time zone games is really spaced out, that helps, as the team will definitely return to Seattle and Starfire for rest and training rather than get stuck on the road.

Finally, the final match at home is VITAL in this league. Last season most matches in the final week mattered, and I would much rather play in front of 24,500 at Qwest in a bid for the playoffs then go to TFC or DC United.

There is one last bit of schedule news to come out soon - the US Open Cup. There may or may not be qualifiers, but if Sounders FC is in the tournament proper expect a round or two on the road.

Two different seven game packages should be on the website tomorrow at some point with price points in the 150-300 dollar range, depending on where you want to sit. The best seats are already taken, but if you like atmosphere go for 121-123 with ECS. Otherwise I'm hoping that the good old 214 gets some bodies, the view is solid, and the price is good. Single game tickets won't be on sale until March. When only seats on either endline or the high wings will be available.

Last ticket count I heard was 18,600 of 24,500 for the configuration.