For Sounders, a big crowd but weakened lineup expected
More than 50,000 tickets have been sold for Saturday’s match against Vancouver, but the Sounders will be without several key players due to national-team duty and injuries.
Seattle Times staff reporter
Vancouver @ Sounders FC,7:30 p.m., NBC Sports
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Get ready for another big Sounders FC crowd.
A franchise known for its record support will showcase it again Saturday, as more than 51,000 tickets have been sold for a home game against Northwest rival Vancouver.
The Cascadia Cup bout will kick off at 7:30 p.m. at CenturyLink Field with a national TV broadcast and U.S. men’s national-team coaches and players in attendance as they get ready for Tuesday’s World Cup qualifier in the same stadium.
Ticket sales have already guaranteed the turnout will be among the five largest for a Sounders MLS game.
So does the team, one accustomed to impassioned backing from the fans, feel the difference of an extra 10,000 or so in the stadium?
“Yeah, you feel it,” coach Sigi Schmid said. “You feel it on the field. Our stadium is always loud, it’s always raucous, it’s always very pro-Sounders, and it gives you a great feeling. But when there are more people in there, it’s a little more electric and it’s a little bit louder.”
The results show that, as well. Seattle is 4-0 in front of crowds larger than 50,000 in MLS play, with an 11-1 goal differential. Saturday is the first of four games this season where capacity in the stadium will increase beyond its usual 39,000 for Sounders games.
“It’s a chance to showcase ourselves to people who don’t always get a chance to see us play live,” Schmid said, “and that’s something that I know the guys are always up for.”
While the stands will be packed, both teams come in short-handed.
Seattle is without three players on national-team duty, Eddie Johnson and Brad Evans with the U.S., and Mario Martinez with Honduras. Osvaldo Alonso (thigh) and Steve Zakuani (sports hernia) are injured, and Shalrie Joseph is serving the final game of a suspension.
Vancouver is without captain Jay DeMerit (Achilles) and midfielder Gershon Koffie (thigh) due to injury, while forward Darren Mattocks is with the Jamaican national team.
Martins, who has put earlier knee issues behind him, has scored four times in his first 317 league minutes, making him the fastest to that goal total in team history.
“Like I said when I came here, I just want to help the team and try to score as many goals as possible,” Martins said. “I’m glad now that I’m doing well scoring goals, so I hope to continue like this.”
Yedlin makes U-20 World Cup team
Sounders FC’s DeAndre Yedlin, as expected, was named to the U.S.’s 21-man roster for the upcoming FIFA U-20 World Cup in Turkey. The 19-year-old Seattle native will be available Saturday but could miss up to four MLS games during the tournament, which runs from June 21 to July 13.
Asked if it was difficult to weigh responsibilities with club and country as a rookie, Yedlin said, “Right now, it’s more exciting. It’s a little bit overwhelming, but it’s not a bad problem to have. It’s been fun.”
• General manager Adrian Hanauer said the team is in talks to keep Martinez, whose loan from Real Espana of Honduras is set to expire at the end of the month.
• Zakuani is set to undergo surgery Tuesday and is expected to be out six to eight weeks.
• Saturday will mark the second time Sounders FC has played an MLS home game on grass. A temporary sod surface was installed this week for Tuesday’s World Cup qualifier.
Joshua Mayers: 206-464-3184 or firstname.lastname@example.org