Final: Vancouver wins it, 2-0. Montreal looked like an expansion team, but the Whitecaps looked dangerous even beyond that.
Heading down to try to talk to some ex-Sounders, and I'll add a new post spotlighting them later.
80th minute: Former Sounder Miguel Montano comes in for Montreal.
Attendance: 21,000. A sellout.
55th minute: GOAL Vancouver. This time, set up with a nice dummy by Eric Hassli, then ball through to Camilo, who loses his defender with a hard inside cut, and finishes strongly. Whitecaps 2, Impact 0.
47th minute: Nyassi down for a while. Tended to. Returns almost instantly, though still with a bit of a limp.
Second half: Has kicked off.
Halftime: Vancouver 1, Montreal 0. Ex-Sounders have made their mark. First shot on goal: Sanna Nyassi. First goal, Sebastien Le Toux, working past Tyson Wahl.
Fourth minute: GOAL Vancouver. Sebastien Le Toux beats Tyson Wahl to the ball, and puts it away. (Video here.)
First shot: First shot on goal comes from former Sounder Sanna Nyassi. Easily handled by Vancouver keeper Joe Cannon.
Season has begun: Just one anthem -- "O, Canada" -- and the first kick of the new season has been struck. (Surprisingly, with quite a few empty seats visible.)
(Interestingly, there's another Vancouver-Montreal match tonight -- a Canucks-Canadiens NHL match right across the street.)
(@JeremiahOshan tweets this reminder: Not only is MLS Live free this week, but so is Direct Kick. Turn on your TV!!!)
Lineups: Tyson Wahl and Sanna Nyassi starting for Montreal, with Mike Fucito and Miguel Montano on the bench. Lamar Neagle isn't on the 18. Le Toux starting for Vancouver.
Pregame: It's MLS First Kick day today, and one of the first kicks will take place at renovated BC Place in Vancouver, where the Whitecaps will meet their instant rival, the expansion Vancouver Whitecaps. (Some broadcast information kindly provided in the comments section below.
The game is of added interest to Northwest soccer fans, because of the presence of former Sounder Sebastien Le Toux on the Whitecaps roster, and Lamar Neagle, Mike Fucito, Tyson Wahl, Sanna Nyassi and Miguel Montano on the Impact roster.
I'll give updates through the afternoon, including some thoughts on the stadium that the Sounders will visit on May 19 and Sept. 29. Then after the game I'll try to speak to as many of the former Sounders as possible and pass along their thoughts.
My initial take on the stadium is just how dazzlingly they have cut the CFL capacity roughly in half for MLS. Even though this is opening day against a Canadian rival, only the lower bowl is being used, for a capacity of around 21,000. However, the tarp system used here doesn't merely cover the upper seats, but forms the impression of an interior roof that makes them almost undetectable.
And speaking of the actual retractable roof over the playing surface ... that's closed too. A game-by-game decision, a Whitecaps representative tells me. Today's decision is based on chance of rain, not temperature.
Meanwhile, I have now taken a walk around the main concourse. That part is very much like I remember the old BC Place: wide, clean and functional, but no particular bells and whistles.
Plus, I miss the clacking of the roller-coaster that was part of the game experience at old Empire Field.