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Originally published November 20, 2009 at 6:22 PM | Page modified November 21, 2009 at 8:27 AM

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Both teams want the home crowd on their side

Players from both the L.A. Galaxy and Real Salt Lake look forward to a good atmosphere at Qwest Field in the MLS Cup final Sunday.

Seattle Times staff reporter


MLS Cup @ Qwest Field, 5:30 p.m., ESPN

Real Salt Lake's Kyle Beckerman

L.A. Galaxy's David Beckham


Seattle is like a second home for Real Salt Lake's Andy Williams. For a very personal reason.

His wife Marcia received treatment for a rare form of leukemia last summer at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. Andy left Utah to be with her whenever he could.

Now, Marcia Williams' cancer is in remission, and she is on her way back to Seattle, but not for more treatment. This time she'll be in the stands at Qwest Field, watching her husband and his team try to defeat the Los Angeles Galaxy on Sunday in the MLS Cup championship game.

"Marcia won a battle here before, and it's just going to be another battle here Sunday," Williams said. "I'm 1-0 right now in the big game. So hopefully we come away with another victory again on Sunday. ... Hopefully we get some of the Sounders fans on our side, too."

In that sense, Williams hopes Seattle is like a second home in another way, as in RSL's home way from home. Ask any player or coach from either team, and he'll say that playing in Seattle in front of its soccer-mad crowd is something to look forward to.

"It's a fantastic atmosphere," RSL goalkeeper Nick Rimando said. "I'd much rather be playing L.A. than Seattle here. To think that Sunday will be that rowdy makes it great and special."

Real Salt Lake was the second-ever MLS club to play at Qwest Field back in March, and lost 2-0 to Sounders FC. RSL came back a month later for a U.S. Open Cup play-in match in Tukwila, and was soundly defeated 4-1. But no one forgot the rabid support the Rave Green received.

"They love their soccer here, and they yell and cheer," RSL defender Jamison Olave said. "Hopefully I have the support of my fellow Colombians, [Sounders FC players] Fredy Montero and Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, too. It's way better to play in such a great atmosphere. I hope they love us and they'll want to support us more."

Both teams, in recognition of the atmosphere and the soccer-savvy fans, have appealed to Seattle fans for their support Sunday.

"To see the amount of fans here, the enthusiasm that they had, all holding their scarves and cheering really just for their team, it was really that pure fan," said Galaxy midfielder Chris Klein, recalling his team's visit to Qwest in May, a 1-1 result. "We're happy Seattle's a part of MLS."

"This is, in my opinion, the perfect place to have a game like this," said Landon Donovan, the MLS MVP. "You can already picture what the atmosphere is going to be like when we went out for training [Friday]."

The buzz for the match validates MLS commissioner Don Garber's decision to award Seattle with the MLS Cup final, which he did about a week before the season began. Garber said Sounders FC was on its way to becoming a "phenomenon" at that point.

José Miguel Romero: 206-464-2409

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