With the release of the MLS 2019 regular season schedule, we break down what the Seattle Sounders will have to contend with this year.
Monday saw the release of the 2019 MLS regular season schedule. Understandably, this is always one of the most intriguing times during the offseason.
Of course, we’re most interested in the Seattle Sounders’ schedule. Let’s take a look at what the Rave Green can expect in 2019, with our five takeaways:
1) Home sweet home
The Sounders are used to starting the regular season at home. Since joining MLS in 2009 they have only began the campaign on the road once, in 2017 against the Houston Dynamo.
In that respect, this year will be no different. Seattle will open at CenturyLink Field, against expansion side FC Cincinnati.
It promises to be a special occasion, which is usually the case on opening day in any professional sport. The game will take place on Saturday Mar. 2, with kick off at 7:00 pm PT.
2) Renewal of hostilities
The rivalry and reputation of the Sounders and Portland Timbers continues to grow nationally. With the Timbers’ success last season, both teams have now appeared in two MLS Cup finals and won one championship over the course of the previous four seasons.
Of course, Portland going all the way to the final last year, was particularly frustrating for Seattle supporters. The Sounders lost in heartbreaking fashion to the Timbers in the Western Conference Semifinals, courtesy of the dreaded penalty shootout.
The rival fans will have to be patient this year, as the first meeting won’t take place until July 21, in Seattle. The two teams will then play again essentially a month later in Portland, on Aug. 23.
3) The Cascadia Cup
Talking of the Timbers, this brings us to the not so small matter of the Cascadia Cup. Dating all the way back to 2004, the Sounders won their fifth Cascadia Cup in the competition’s history last year.
The Timbers have won four cups, while the Vancouver Whitecaps lead the way with six. As such, Seattle’s game’s against their rivals North of the border will be particularly interesting.
The two teams meet early on in the fourth regular season game of the season, in Vancouver on Mar. 30. They will then clash again in Seattle, on June 29.
4) Road-weary warriors
The Sounders were very efficient on their travels last year. In fact, their road record of 8-6-3 was tied for third-best in the league.
Regardless, they will still face a major challenge between May 18 and June 5. During this stretch, they will play four consecutive games away from the friendly confines of CenturyLink Field.
Seattle will start off with games against the Philadelphia Union and Sporting Kansas City. They will then round out the road trip with games versus FC Dallas and the Montreal Impact.
5) The best the league has to offer
Undoubtedly, the Sounders’ main goal is to return to the joy they experienced in 2016, when they won the first MLS Cup in franchise history. And a good way to gauge how realistic your chances are, is to play the reigning champions.
Seattle will get this opportunity on July 14, when they face Atlanta United. Helping the cause, is the fact the game will take place at home.
The Rave Green had a favorable result against the Five Stripes last year, when they secured a 1-1 tie in Atlanta. They also tied 0-0 in Seattle in 2017, in the first ever meeting between the two sides.
- Seven of Seattle’s home games will be on Saturday, another seven on Sunday and three on Wednesday night
- The Sounders feature in 11 games on national television (six on Fox Sports 1, four on ESPN & one on ESPN2)
- 16 of Seattle’s 34 games will be against playoff teams from 2018 (seven at home & nine away)
- 13 of the Sounders’ 34 games will be played on no more than four days rest