The Seattle Sounders have already sold over 66,000 tickets for Sunday's game against the Portland Timbers, and they are expecting to celebrate their first MLS sellout with three points.
There are no gimmicks, tie-ins, or doubleheaders in this one. A record crowd — at the stadium that also houses the NFL's Seattle Seahawks — will pack the house for a league game against a local rival. It will be larger than any other league game in Sounders history. In fact, if it surpasses the 67,052 that attended a 2011 exhibition against Manchester United, it will set a new high-water mark for the popular club.
Players and coaches from both teams are excited about what promises to be a special game Sunday, the Seattle Times reports.
"It's a great tribute to MLS and to the Northwest rivalries," Sounders coach Sigi Schmid said. "It's going to be an electric atmosphere."
The attendance will be larger than any English Premier League game that takes place this weekend, as well as all but a few that take place anywhere else on the planet.
Seattle set its current MLS record last October, when 64,140 came to wish former goalkeeper Kasey Keller a fond farewell. The Olympia, Wash., native was playing in his final regular-season home game, just before retiring after three stellar seasons with the club.
Sunday's crowd will be the second-largest crowd for a stand-alone game in MLS history. First is the 69,225 that attended the Los Angeles Galaxy's first-ever home game at the Rose Bowl in 1996.
Portland will have the support of 1,500 travelling fans.
Those who are unable to attend the game can watch on television, as ESPN will broadcast the game to a national television audience.
Here is a testament to how far soccer has progressed as a spectator sport in the Pacific Northwest: 36,593 fans came to CenturyLink Field on May 14, 2011 for Portland's only other MLS game in Seattle. Many more will be on hand to see the second meeting between the two longtime rivals.
Photo courtesy of Flickr/Mozzer