Monday, March 16, 2009

Seattle Sounders F.C. Preview

On the West Coast, it’s the first season in the MLS for the Seattle Sounders FC, who will play at Xbox Pitch at Qwest Field in front of 22 thousand season ticket holders wearing the team’s green and blue colours. Things have been great off the pitch for the Sounders. They’ve been incredibly successful with season tickets sales and their sponsorship campaign, which includes a $20 million shirt sponsorship deal with Xbox 360.

The Sounders’ success off the field may translate to the field with a trip to the playoffs. The team make-up includes designated player and former Arsenal midfielder Freddie Ljungberg, solid goalkeeper Kasey Keller, and the 2008 MLS championship coach Sigi Schmid. Three young players add to the mix: Sebastien Le Toux, who had 14 goals in USL-1 in 2008; Nate Jaqua, who picked up 4 goals in 14 appearances for the Houston Dynamo; and Osvaldo Alonso, the USL-1 rookie of the year in 2008. About the players, goalkeeper Kasey Keller states, “Good experience and a mix of good youth – who knows what will happen.” Add to that playing in a weaker conference, and the Seattle Sounders are looking at the MLS playoffs.

Although questions remain for Seattle, including Ljungberg’s form on return from injury and whether Keller, at age 39, can last an entire season, Schmid's coaching resume should keep Seattle competitive throughout the season. Regardless, with a packed house and an in-stadium band called the "Sound Wave," Seattle fans should have a fantastic time in 2009.
-Coming up next: Montreal Impact

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