QWest Field, Wednesday, June 17, 7:30PM PST
I remember making the trip to RFK stadium when I was a student in Washington DC to watch DC United play. Freddy Adu was all the rage and Jaime Moreno still did not have frosted tips.
Families would stream off the metro and meekly into the stadium. Week in and week out there would be crowds of 10,000, maybe 15,000 on a good day. Most people wore Arsenal jerseys.
Fast forward to 2009 and I am driving down 1st Ave. The sound of drums and singing echoes among the rave green jerseys everyone seems to be wearing. Is this really soccer in the United States? Am I imagining things?
DC United represents the old guard of the league. With 4 MLS cups, 4 Supporter's Shields, 2 open cups and a a Champions League title to their name, they are unquestionably one of the most storied franchises in MLS history. Seattle has but five wins to their name, but boast the highest attendance in the MLS this year and is on pace to break the all-time attendance record set by none other than DC United.
Seattle represents the future of the MLS. High attendance, a crazy fan base, a city abuzz, a new rivalry (Seattle, Portland, Vancouver) soon to be built into the league. Seattle is the final nail in the coffin for the east coast bias in the MLS that we tend to see in all other American leagues.
That said, this is one of the most important and symbolic games this year for the Sounders. It is the old guard against the newbie punks, the best of the East against one of the Western powers, the chance for an expansion franchise to prove their hot start was no fluke.
DC United is a good team, but if Seattle can continue to improve on their focus from last week, there is no reason they can't take all 3 points at home.
1st place, Eastern Conference
5-2-7 Overall, 1-2-3 Away
Away Goals Scored: 10
Away Goals Conceded: 11
Form: D D L W W
PROBABLE: MF Ben Olsen (hamstring strain)
Seattle Sounders FC
3rd place, Western Conference
5-3-5 Overall, 4-1-2 Home
Home Goals Scored: 11
Home Goals Conceded: 4
Form: D D D L W
OUT: GK Chris Eylander (Lmedial knee bone bruise); DF Zach Scott (partial tear abdominal muscle); DF Taylor Graham (R metatarsal fracture); FW Jarrod Smith (Lhamstring strain); PROBABLE: MF
Peter Vagenas (R ankle pain); DF Tyrone Marshall (knee bruise)
Suspended Next Yellow: Nate Jaqua
Jarrod Smith, New Zealand, Confederations Cup
The offense continues to jell and surprises a strong DC United team.