The Montreal Impact’s newly renovated Stade Saputo, will open Saturday when Sounders FC visits.
“Our first six games were in the Olympic Stadium, which is almost in our back yard,” said Richard Legendre, executive vice president of the Impact. “And we had good (attendance) there with the opening game, and of course the L.A. Galaxy game. The opening game we had 58,000; the L.A. game, 68,000. But the other games were more around 20,000. So our capacity is 20,000, and right now we’re hoping for a sellout on Saturday, but we’re not there yet.”
Here are some notes from the Sounders, outlining the club’s success on the road, and against expansion teams:
The league’s top road team will have the opportunity provide further evidence of their road dominance as six of the next eight MLS matches are on the road, including four of the next five. Seattle will also play away from home in the U.S. Open Cup quarterfinal, totaling just two home games until August. Three of the longest trips of the season are coming up with visits to Montreal (2,287 miles), New England (2,489) and New York (2,403). Overall, Seattle could travel 19,454 miles, assuming all flights are round trips from Seattle.
Sounders FC holds the league’s longest active road undefeated streak at 10 games (7-0-3), dating back to July 30, 2011. The run is the second-longest in league history, just two shy of FC Dallas’ run of 12 games unbeaten on the road in 2010. Seattle went 9-3-5 away from home in 2011 – the best road record in MLS – for the fourth-best road winning percentage in league history (.676). Seattle has earned the second-most points (82) on the road since 2009, just one fewer than the league-leading L.A. Galaxy (83).
Sounders FC set the standard for MLS expansion sides when the club entered the league in 2009. In its three years, Seattle has set the league attendance record each season, became the only expansion franchise to qualify for the playoffs in each of its first three seasons, and became the first MLS club to win three consecutive U.S. Open Cup titles.
The league has since welcomed four new teams: Philadelphia Union, Portland Timbers, Vancouver Whitecaps FC and Montreal Impact. Seattle is undefeated (1-0-2) in its first match against the expansion teams, and has lost just once in six outings against expansion sides in their inaugural campaign, including three wins.
As Seattle prepares for the inaugural game at Montreal’s Stade Saputo, the team will be able to draw from past experiences in front of raucous crowds. Alongside playing in front of more than 38,000 fans at CenturyLink Field, Sounders FC has also played in front of boisterous supporters on the road. Once before did Seattle play the inaugural game in an MLS stadium when the Rave Green fell 3-1 to the Philadelphia Union at PPL Park on June 27, 2010. Several other memorable games have come in opposing venues, including snapping Real Salt Lake’s (29 games) and Columbus Crew’s (22 games) record home unbeaten streaks. Last season, Sounders FC became the first visiting club to win at the brand new LIVESTRONG Sporting Park when two stoppage time goals lifted Seattle to a 2-1 victory. Sounders FC also beat Vancouver, 3-1, in the final match at Empire Field on September 24, 2011.