Seattle awarded 2009 MLS Cup
The expansion Seattle Sounders FC will host Major League Soccer's premier event, the MLS Cup 2009, at Qwest Field on Nov. 22. The Sunday game begins at 5:30 p.m.
Seattle Times staff reporter
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Seattle Sounders FC and Qwest Field will host the 2009 Major League Soccer championship game, the MLS Cup, the league announced Wednesday.
The league's grand finale will be played Sunday, Nov. 22 at 5:30 p.m., and will be televised live on ESPN.
Qwest Field becomes the eighth stadium to host the MLS Cup. The league is in its 14th season. Last November, the Columbus Crew, led by current Sounders FC coach Sigi Schmid, won the Cup over the New York Red Bulls at the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif.
The selection of Seattle as host site appears to have plenty to do with the response of fans to the new team, which begins regular-season play next Thursday, March 19. More than 20,000 season-ticket packages have been sold and the opener is sold out even after the team expanded seating capacity for the match to 32,400.
"The city of Seattle and Qwest Field will be a tremendous setting for our country's marquee soccer event of the year," MLS commissioner Don Garber said in a statement. "The stadium was designed with soccer in mind, and we believe the buzz surrounding Sounders FC will add to the electricity at our championship game."
It's shaping up to be another year for high-quality soccer in Seattle. In addition to the arrival of Sounders FC, Chelsea, a globally-recognized club team from England, is scheduled for a friendly against Sounders FC in July. A CONCACAF Gold Cup doubleheader featuring four national teams from North America will take place at Qwest on July 4.
The Chelsea game and MLS Cup are two of the three extra games included in the full 18-game season-ticket package for fans.
"This is a tremendous honor and reward for our season-ticket holders and an added incentive for our coaches and players," Sounders FC majority owner Joe Roth said.
The incentive: That Sounders FC, with a smashing inaugural campaign, might make it to the MLS Cup match and get home-field advantage.
"We'd love to be in it," Schmid said after Sounders FC's practice Wednesday at Qwest Field. "MLS Cup coming here is really a tribute to the interest the city has shown and what the fans have done by getting behind this team and supporting it. It's almost like a thank you to the fans to be able to witness and watch a showcase game. And our objective, even though we're an expansion team, is to find our way into that game if at all possible."
Seattle last hosted a major-league soccer championship game in 1976, when the Kingdome was the site of the now-defunct North American Soccer League's Soccer Bowl '76. In the match, the Toronto Metros-Croatia defeated the Minnesota Kicks 3-0 in front of more than 25,000 fans.
• Sounders FC forward Fredy Montero has left the team to travel to South America, where he is sorting out personal contract issues with his agents. Montero will not play in Thursday's exhibition finale but is expected to return to Seattle on Friday.
• Schmid said midfielder Freddie Ljungberg, who is making a rapid recovery from hip surgery in December, will be available off the bench for the opener, but he won't start.
• Schmid said there is a chance another player (besides F Jarrod Smith) could be placed on injured reserve and miss the required six games. D Taylor Graham has a protective boot on his right foot and could be an IR candidate.
José Miguel Romero: email@example.com
Copyright © 2009 The Seattle Times Company
UPDATE - 8:54 PM
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