The last time a team won the Western Conference at CenturyLink Field it was the LA Galaxy in 2014. LA also won the West in Seattle back in 2012. Seattle won it on the road last year, on their way to winning MLS Cup, also on the road. The last time the Sounders got to enjoy a proper celebration in front of their home fans was following the 2011 U.S. Open Cup.
Tonight offers the opportunity to change that. There will be 50,000 (or more) filling the CLink. Seattle Sounders hold a 2-0 lead and are as set up as they can be to take a trophy in their home stadium. If they do, there will be fireworks, confetti and all the pomp and circumstance they didn’t get after their 2014 Supporters’ Shield.
Asked about that opportunity last Friday, Brian Schmetzer said, “It would be awesome. The people that traveled to Denver last year they made the energy in that building good. The reception we got at home, at Boeing Field was great. We’re happy we have the opportunity to do it here at home.”
The players are aware of the chance too. They believe in this club.
“It’s a bit of a different feeling. It’s much nicer, to be honest, especially with this 2-0 lead,” Cristian Roldan told Sounder at Heart. “The ultimate thing would be winning MLS Cup here, but this is one step a little bit less than MLS Cup. If we can win this and guide ourselves to MLS Cup in front of our fans who deserve our absolute best we’re going to do that. We’re very proud of where we are at, and we still have a long way to go.”
Part of the work left to do is doing more media hits than during the regular season.
On with Dave ‘Softy’ Mahler Wednesday afternoon, Schmetzer shared this request for the fans, “We need them to do their normal great job with their tifo, the cheers, the chants, the songs. We need all of that. And then I would ask them the same thing I ask my players. I would say I need that little extra 5%, that little extra 10%. I think the energy in the building always helps. We have a great building and we don’t ever want to take that for granted, but there are certain games, like matches against Portland, when we open up the entire stadium 60,000-plus in the building. Those little details, that can help the team. That can help the players get motivated for the game.”
This is clearly one of those games.
That statement echoed his comments after practice. “Because the relationship between the players and the fans is something special, we have a really good opportunity to do something special tomorrow night. We have a tough opponent in the way, but if things go in our favor it would be a very good way to celebrate with our fans that have been with us for a very long time, some of them since 1974. We would be very happy to hopefully get a result and have them share in our success.”
Schmetzer refers to the relationship between the players and the fans as the club. Membership is open to anyone. The group meets weekly from March through December. It expects you to give an extra 5-10 percent for the biggest gatherings.
Will he hear you?