The Seattle Sounders have their MLS season opener on Sunday at CenturyLink Field. In this week's conversation, KNKX sports commentator Art Thiel says there is still plenty of excitement coming off of last year's championship win, and still plenty to be excited about for this year.
Thiel says that the Sounders winning the MLS cup last year was a fantastic experience. He compared the enthusiastic crowd at the match to the volume at Seahawks games, and said it might have even been louder.
"There were so many people who wanted this moment, not only for the 11-year existence of the Sounders, but going back to their North American Soccer League days," he said. "People were heavily invested in this game, and to have the triumph be so decisive...well this was really a big deal."
25 YEARS OF MLS
Thiel also pointed out that this year marks the 25th anniversary of the creation of the Major League Soccer league. He says that there was plenty of concern early on that professional soccer wouldn't make it in the United States, in large part because of the interest in so many other sports in this country. He said the league wasn't without it's rocky early years, but is now doing well. And Thiel credits the Sounders with part of that success.
"I think the Sounders made a big impact on the future by being such a well-managed and successful organization," he said. "And they've helped push the MLS forward to the point where they are still expanding."
NEW AND OLD FACES
Every team has turnover, but the Sounders remain consistent in attracting talent. Thiel says one exciting new addition is a talented Brazilian center midfielder named João Paulo, who already scored a goal six minutes into his first preseason game. Thiel says another big new addition is Yeimar Gómez Andrade, who comes from Columbia to join the Sounders defense. Familiar faces like Jordan Morris and Stefan Frei remain important fixtures.
Thiel says that majority owner Adrian Hanauer is getting closer to the goal he set when he started the Sounders organization of it being a major international brand that attracts the attention of players around the world.
"I think Hanauer is getting closer and closer to his goal of making the Sounders the brand, the team that international stars want to come to."