Sounders FC will wear its “electricity” yellow kit for what is expected to be the final time tonight when the club concludes CONCACAF Champions League group play with a match against visiting CF Monterrey.
Those who say “good riddance” to the eye-searingly bright uniforms should note that the club already has settled on a new alternate kit for next season. And general manager Adrian Hanauer implied they could be every bit as controversial as the ones they’re replacing.
“What I can say is that just like the electricity, it will be divisive,” he said. “Some people will love it. Some people will hate it. It is not going to be gray. Other than that, people have to wait until it leaks.”
The Sounders haven’t decided when they will officially unveil the new look.
However, they will become the fifth distinctly different jersey the club has worn since it first took the pitch in 2009. In addition to the basic rave green, they wore a blue second jersey in their first two seasons, switched the second jersey to Cascade shale this season, and added the yellow third kit in 2010. There also have been some lesser changes in stripes and accents along the way.
“We are set on being a green team – a rave green team,” Hanauer said. “That said, I tend to acquiesce to the branding police within our organization and the retail-operations group and adidas and those that are better equipped to make the decisions on jersey transitions and how quickly we turn that over.”
The Sounders have worn their electricity kits primarily for friendlies and non-MLS competitions such as U.S. Open Cup and Champions League.
The club will wear them for the final time tonight, having already clinched advancement to the Champions League quarterfinals in March.
With a win or a draw, the Sounders will go through as champions of Group D, which would provide a seeding advantage in the knockout rounds.
Meanwhile, defending champion Monterrey is playing for its tournament life. The Rayados advance with a win or draw. However, a loss in Seattle combined with a Comunicaciones win over Herediano would eliminate Monterrey.
Sounders coach Sigi Schmid figures that will provide motivation for the visitors, especially in light of their disappointing 5-6-2 start to their league season in Mexico.
“When you struggle in one area you want to be successful in another area,” Schmid said. “It’s like a different competition – something new – and they’re defending champions. And for them to be able to put themselves through to the quarterfinals, I think, is very important to their club.”
With the Sounders certain of advancing to both the CCL quarterfinals and the MLS playoffs, Schmid said he will weigh several issues before deciding his lineup.
“We’d like to finish first in our group – that helps us also,” he said. “But at the end of the day our ultimate goal at this point now is to make a deep run into the playoffs and to win MLS Cup. And so we have to be smart about what we do, and so our lineup selections are going to be predicated upon that a little bit: not putting anybody into injury jeopardy as we prepare for that.”
Sounders goalkeeper Kasey Keller was selected MLS player of the week Monday after his seven-save performance in Seattle’s 2-1 win over San Jose on Saturday. ... The 64,140 fans who attended that game at CenturyLink Field represented the fourth-largest soccer crowd in the world that day, trailing FC Barcelona, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich.
CF MONTERREY (MEXICO) AT SOUNDERS FC (MLS)
7 p.m., CenturyLink Field TV: Fox Soccer. RADIO: 97.3 FM.
HEAD TO HEAD: Monterrey leads, 2-1. Seattle won 1-0 on Aug. 23 in Mexico with the goal coming from Alvaro Fernandez.
NOTES: This concludes CONCACAF Champions League group play for both teams. Seattle (3-1-1 in CCL) clinches the top spot in Group D with a win or a draw, but finishes second with a loss. Regardless of result, the Sounders will advance to the quarterfinals in March. Monterrey (3-2) wins the group with a victory and advances with a draw. However, a loss leaves Monterrey vulnerable to elimination if Comunicaciones beats Herediano. ... Monterrey reportedly is traveling with its first-team regulars, except for the injured Aldo de Nigris. ... Seattle defender Jhon Kennedy Hurtado is ineligible due to yellow-card accumulation. ... Monterrey is the defending CCL champion and qualified this season by winning the 2010 Mexican Apertura. The club has won the Mexican league title four times, Copa Mexico once, CONCACAF Cup Winners Cup once, and CCL once. ... The club was founded in 1945, and is nicknamed the Rayados, in honor of its blue-striped jerseys. ... This season, Monterrey is 5-6-2 in the 2011 Mexican Apertura, while Seattle is 17-7-9 in MLS.
QUOTABLE: “They need at least a tie to ensure themselves of advancing. We need a tie to finish first; a win finishes us first as well. ... I think it’s going to be a motivated Monterrey team, a team that wants to get at least a point, if not more, out of the game.” – Sounders coach Sigi Schmid.
NEXT: Seattle concludes the MLS regular season at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Chivas USA. The Sounders return to CONCACAF Champions League play in March with a home-and-away, aggregate-score, two-game quarterfinal series against an opponent to be determined.