Huge crowd expected for Sounders-Timbers match

Oct 5, 2012, 1:56 PM | Updated: Oct 7, 2012, 10:33 am

Even the most passionate U.S. soccer fan couldn’t have envisioned 66,000 people coming out for a regular-season game, but that’s the expected turnout for Sunday evening’s Sounders-Timbers match in Seattle.

That number will set a record for an MLS regular-season game at CenturyLink Field. Nearly 61,000 watched the Sounders whip the Los Angeles Galaxy in August.

While the Sounders have already secured their fourth straight MLS playoff trip, there’s still plenty of motivation for the home side. Seattle must beat the Timbers for any chance of hanging on to the Cascadia Cup. That trophy goes to the top team in the Northwest, including the Vancouver Whitecaps.

Playing on its home pitch, Portland has already produced a 2-1 victory and a 1-all tie against the Sounders. Seattle coach Sigi Schmid said he’s learned a couple things about the Oregon rivals.

“Hopefully with more space in our stadium we’ll be able to connect more of our passes and open the game up a little bit more than we did down in Portland,” he said in our Coach’s Corner interview. “Portland, with their fans, makes it a tough place to play, but we think with our huge home crowd it will be even tougher for them.”

Sounders FC is 10 points clear of fifth-seed Vancouver and can finish no lower than fourth in the Western Conference. That would ensure Seattle of at least one home playoff match. Schmid obviously wants a higher seeding in postseason competition.

“With about 14 games to go we set our goal to get the No. 2 playoff spot,” he said. “That’s something that’s still there and attainable for us. Three points in this game will be very important for that goal and for keeping the Cascadia Cup.”

The Timbers must win all of their remaining games to have any chance at the playoffs. That’s why several Portland players are calling this match in Seattle the biggest game of their season.

Before the game, Seattle will honor Roger Levesque with a golden scarf. The popular long-time Sounder retired this season to focus on a master’s degree.

Note: Ross Fletcher and Kasey Keller have the radio call on 770 KTTH. The pregame show begins at 5:30 Sunday evening, 30 minutes before first kick. ESPN will televise the match.

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Huge crowd expected for Sounders-Timbers match