With the release of the 2016 MLS schedule, here are some initial thoughts on the key dates for the Seattle Sounders.
Thursday represented the first key date of 2016 for Seattle Sounders fans. No matter how old you get, finding out your team’s schedule for the upcoming season is always an exciting time for supporters.
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The release of the fixture list also often represents a time of high hopes for the Sounders and Major League Soccer fans in general. The season has yet to start, allowing you to dream of what might be.
In some respects, you could argue that this will be the Sounders most important season yet in MLS. With that in mind, here are five early observations to take away from their 2016 schedule.
1) Home opener (March 6)
Sounders fans already knew their opponent for this game, but it still doesn’t make it any less exciting. It’s almost impossible not to be up for the home opener.
Making it even more special, is the fact it doubles as their first game of the regular season. As such, expect the players to be raring to go against Sporting Kansas City.
As if they needed any extra motivation, Seattle will be looking to do something they didn’t manage last season – beat Sporting KC. In the three games, they tied twice and lost once, with the one clash at CenturyLink Field ending 0-0.
2) Facing the MLS Cup champions (July 17)
Clashes between the Sounders and Timbers are always highly anticipated affairs, especially with them doubling as Cascadia Cup games. However, the first meeting between the two sides in 2016 will be even more eagerly awaited than usual.
In most respects, the Sounders have little to be envious of in respect of their Pacific Northwest rivals, except for one thing – the MLS Cup.
As such, the Sounders will be eager to prove their credentials, despite winning two of the three match-ups in 2015. Even here though, Seattle will be looking for revenge, given that the one loss was an embarrassing 4-1 defeat in front of a nationally televised audience.
3) Revenge on their minds ( May 14)
The Sounders and their fans are still haunted by the circumstances surrounding their elimination from the playoffs. It doesn’t get much more heartbreaking than giving up a 92nd minute equalizer and then going on to lose on penalties.
As such, it’s hardly surprising that they will have May 14 circled in their calendars. This is when they will first get the opportunity for at least some modicum of closure against FC Dallas.
Aside from the playoff clashes, the sides met twice during the regular season in 2015. The Sounders took four out of a possible six points, collecting two clean sheets in the process.
4) Still the standard (July 9)
The Sounders managed to exorcise at least one demon during last season’s playoffs, finally eliminating the L.A. Galaxy after being on the receiving end on three previous occasions. However, don’t expect the tension to calm down anytime soon.
Since the Sounders entered the league in 2009, they have had the second-best record in the league. The only team with a better showing are the Galaxy, who have also won three MLS Cup’s during that same time period.
As far as Seattle are concerned, the Galaxy represent the standard when it comes to success. Nothing will change that perception in the coming season, so fasten your seat belts and get ready for some fireworks when they first meet on July 9.
5) Breaking down the basics
The Sounders will have 14 games featured on national television, including the home opener against Sporting KC. All three Timbers fixtures will also be on ESPN and FOX.
Seattle will have an excellent chance to get their season off to a strong strong. Seven of their first 11 games will be played at CenturyLink Field.
The Sounders will also have an excellent chance to control their playoffs chances, as the 2016 campaign winds down – assuming they are still in contention! Their final four games of the regular season will be against Western Conference opponents.
What are your initial thoughts regarding the Sounders 2016 schedule? Let us know in the comments section below.