Early indications are that Seattle Sounders FC’s streak of sold-out games will extend into the postseason.
“It is our intention that it’s going to be a packed house like it has been all year,” general manager Adrian Hanauer said Monday. “It’s going well. ... And certainly after (clinching our playoff berth on Saturday) it’s going faster because I think that now that they know we’re in the playoffs people feel like it’s time to commit.
“We anticipate a high percentage of our season-ticket holders to buy playoff tickets, and we also expect strong demand once we go on sale to the public. We have no reason to believe it won’t be a packed house, but we won’t know until all the tickets are gone.”
Sellouts aren’t common in the Major League Soccer postseason. In fact, average attendance was higher in the 2008 regular season (16,460) than in the 10 playoff games (15,437; not counting MLS Cup, which is played at a neutral site). Last season’s playoff crowds ranged from a high of 30,053 for a Houston game at Reliant Stadium to a low of 5,221 for a New England game at Gillette Stadium.
The Sounders lead MLS with an average attendance of 30,739. They are expected to set a league attendance record Saturday when they conclude their regular season with their 15th straight sellout crowd at Qwest Field.
The club made playoff tickets available to season-ticket holders last week, and tickets will go on sale to the general public at 10 a.m. Saturday.
The Sounders officially qualified for the playoffs with their 3-2 win Saturday at Kansas City. That pushed their record to 11-7-11, and those 44 points leave them one point behind Western-Conference tri-leaders Los Angeles, Houston and Chivas USA.
Chivas is the lone Western contender with two games remaining: Wednesday at Chicago and Sunday vs. Houston. That latter game is the only game left for the Dynamo. Los Angeles ends its regular season Saturday against San Jose. The Sounders conclude at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, playing host to FC Dallas.
Seattle could finish anywhere from first to fourth depending on the results of those games.
“This is a big weekend for us,” coach Sigi Schmid said. “... Everything is there for us. We could be first place or we could be fourth place in the West. That’s a great position to be in as an expansion team this late in the season.”
However, there was no champagne-spattered celebration in the CommunityAmerica Ballpark locker room Saturday, and the team returned to a businesslike training session Monday for the same reason: Its real goals lie ahead.
“We wanted to get to the playoffs, and we are happy about getting to the playoffs,” Schmid said. “But we (were) going to pop champagne when we (won) the U.S. Open Cup – as we did – and we are going to pop champagne if we win the MLS Cup. Those are our goals. We have high standards for ourselves, and you have to hold yourself to high standards if you want to be successful. If you aim low, you are going to shoot low. So we want to make sure we aim for the height we want to get to.”
Sounders designated player Freddie Ljungberg was voted MLS player of the week for his two-assist performance against the Wizards. He became the fourth Sounders player to win the award, joining Fredy Montero, Kasey Keller and Nate Jaqua. ... Jaqua’s game-winner at Kansas City is a nominee for the MLS Goal of the Week award. ... The Sounders will honor their fans with a pair of events Saturday. Staff will distribute “I gave my full 90” T-shirts before the March to the Match at 6 p.m. at Occidental Park. At 6:30, Sounders owners will dedicate a permanent installation on the northwest wall of Qwest Field in recognition of their original season tickets holders. ... Minority owner Drew Carey donated $50,000 to a South Florida food bank damaged by fire earlier this month. Carey had promised to make the donation if the Sounders clinched a playoff spot.
Don Ruiz, 253-597-8808