If the Seattle Sounders had managed to advance past Chivas Guadalajara in CONCACAF Champions League play, they would have been tantalizingly close to making history. Unfortunately, they wouldn’t have been playing for that chance at CenturyLink Field.
Instead, the Sounders would have been forced to play their home leg of the CCL semifinals against the New York Red Bulls at Safeco Field on April 4. That’s because there’s an AMA Supercross event scheduled on April 7 at CenturyLink Field and they apparently need several days to prepare the venue. The Sounders were made aware of the conflict late last year when the CCL dates were released, according to a report in the Seattle Times.
The Sounders have chosen to play U.S. Open Cup matches at Starfire Soccer Stadium in the past, but this would have been the first time the team was effectively been forced to relocate a match. Several other venues were considered, including Husky Stadium, but Safeco was considered the best option.
It would have marked the first time since 2002 that Safeco had hosted a soccer match. That year played host to a handful of U.S. Soccer matches, including a friendly between the USMNT and Honduras on March 2, 2002 and four Women’s Gold Cup matches in November 2002.
For those games (photos), sod was placed over the infield and the pitcher’s mound was removed to allow for a 110-yard by 70-yard soccer pitch that allowed the sideline to essentially run down the third-base line, with the left field stands behind the north goal and the first-base line stands behind the south goal. A similar alignment would have likely been used for this match.