Here's a look ahead from the club:
A three-week break from MLS play ends this week as Seattle Sounders FC returns to action against the expansion Montreal Impact. The Rave Green will play the inaugural match in the Impact's new home, Stade Saputo, on Saturday evening. First kick is set for 4:30 p.m. PT.
The match will be televised live on KONG 6/16 with Ross Fletcher and Kasey Keller on the call, and can also be heard on 97.3 KIRO FM. The game will also be broadcast in Spanish on KOMO2 and La Gran D 99.3 FM.
Despite the lull in league play, Sounders FC kept plenty busy with two U.S. Open Cup contests. Seattle kicked off its run for a record fourth consecutive title with a 5-1 win over the Atlanta Silverbacks in the third round followed by a 5-0 victory over Cal FC in the fourth round.
The reigning Open Cup champions will take to the road for the quarterfinals as Sounders FC visits the San Jose Earthquakes on June 26.
The return to MLS action brings a hefty travel schedule as Seattle will play six of its next eight on the road - seven of nine including Open Cup - with the three longest trips in league play this year (Montreal, New England and New York). Overall, Seattle will travel nearly 20,000 miles over the next six weeks, including 11,202 miles before the end of June.
The road trips are welcomed by a Sounders FC squad that has excelled away from home over its first three-plus seasons. Seattle is 22-14-16 all-time on the road, and currently holds the league's longest road unbeaten streak at 10 games (7-0-3), just two shy of tying the MLS record.
Sounders FC will look to extend that streak come Saturday at the newly renovated Stade Saputo. It will be the second time that Sounders FC will play the inaugural match at an MLS stadium as Seattle opened Philadelphia's PPL Park in 2010.
The expansion Impact (3-7-3, 12 points) are currently eighth in the East and have dropped back-to-back games after going unbeaten in four straight (2-0-2). The Montreal roster features several familiar faces, including former Sounders Miguel Montano, Lamar Neagle, Sanna Nyassi and Tyson Wahl. Sounders FC will continue its stretch of seven games in 22 days when the tem returns home for a midweek game on Wednesday, June 20 against Sporting Kansas City. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. on the Xbox Pitch at CenturyLink Field. The Rave Green will then head to Portland for its second Cascadia Cup fixture of the season as they take on the rival Timbers on Sunday, June 24.
Road WarriorsThe league's top road team will have the opportunity provide further evidence of their road dominance as six of the next eight MLS matches are on the road, including four of the next five. Seattle will also play away from home in the U.S. Open Cup quarterfinal, totaling just two home games until August. Three of the longest trips of the season are coming up with visits to Montreal (2,287 miles), New England (2,489) and New York (2,403). Overall, Seattle could travel 19,454 miles, assuming all flights are round trips from Seattle.
Sounders FC holds the league's longest active road undefeated streak at 10 games (7-0-3), dating back to July 30, 2011. The run is the second-longest in league history, just two shy of FC Dallas' run of 12 games unbeaten on the road in 2010. Seattle went 9-3-5 away from home in 2011 - the best road record in MLS - for the fourth-best road winning percentage in league history (.676). Seattle has earned the second-most points (82) on the road since 2009, just one fewer than the league-leading L.A. Galaxy (83).
Expansion SuccessSounders FC set the standard for MLS expansion sides when the club entered the league in 2009. In its three years, Seattle has set the league attendance record each season, became the only expansion franchise to qualify for the playoffs in each of its first three seasons, and became the first MLS club to win three consecutive U.S. Open Cup titles.
The league has since welcomed four new teams: Philadelphia Union, Portland Timbers, Vancouver Whitecaps FC and Montreal Impact. Seattle is undefeated (1-0-2) in its first match against the expansion teams, and has lost just once in six outings against expansion sides in their inaugural campaign, including three wins.
Stadium StoriesAs Seattle prepares for the inaugural game at Montreal's Stade Saputo, the team will be able to draw from past experiences in front of raucous crowds. Alongside playing in front of more than 38,000 fans at CenturyLink Field, Sounders FC has also played in front of boisterous supporters on the road. Once before did Seattle play the inaugural game in an MLS stadium when the Rave Green fell 3-1 to the Philadelphia Union at PPL Park on June 27, 2010. Several other memorable games have come in opposing venues, including snapping Real Salt Lake's (29 games) and Columbus Crew's (22 games) record home unbeaten streaks. Last season, Sounders FC became the first visiting club to win at the brand new LIVESTRONG Sporting Park when two stoppage time goals lifted Seattle to a 2-1 victory. Sounders FC also beat Vancouver, 3-1, in the final match at Empire Field on September 24, 2011.
Series NotesSaturday's match will mark the first MLS meeting between the two sides but Seattle and Montreal have plenty of history. The Sounders faced the Impact a number of times at the USL and NASL levels. Most notably, Seattle lost to Montreal, 2-0, on September 18, 2004 in the USL finals. A year later, the Sounders advanced past Montreal in a two-leg semifinal series. The two sides drew, 2-2, in the first leg in Seattle (September 23, 2005) and won, 2-1, in the second leg in Montreal two days later on a 90th minute game-winner from Roger Levesque. The Sounders went on to win the USL championships that year, beating Richmond on penalties. The last time the Sounders were represented in the USL was September 28, 2008 in a 3-1 loss at Montreal. Seattle's lone goal scorer was Levesque.
About MontrealThe Impact currently sit eighth in the Eastern conference with 12 points (3-7-3), but have had success at home, going 2-1-2 in Montreal this season. Their results have been streaky-starting the year 0-4-1, then going on a 3-1-1 run before going winless in their last three. Twelve different players have contributed to 15 goals and 12 assists this season. Montreal is second to Seattle in attendance this season, averaging 36,498 per game.
Impact NotablesCoach Jesse Marsch's attack is led by Italian striker Bernardo Corradi, whose four goals and one assist this season have all been scored in the last five outings, dating back to April 14. Midfielders Davy Arnaud (two goals, one assist) and Felipe Martins (one goal, two assists) have played in all 13 games this season, while Patrice Bernier has scored in consecutive games to go along with one assist in seven appearances. Sinisa Ubiparipovic and the first pick in the 2012 MLS SuperDraft Andrew Wenger have scored two goals each in just 250 and 186 minutes, respectively.
Jamaican goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts mans the nets for Montreal in his first MLS season without the LA Galaxy. The 6'4" veteran keeper has a career 1.02 goals against average in MLS (83 games, 83 goals allowed).
Lamar Neagle is tied for the team-lead with two assists. Sanna Nyassi has a goal and an assist in nine starts and Tyson Wahl has played every minute of his 10 starts, and Miguel Montano earned his first MLS start May 19 against New York.
The Montreal ConnectionThe Montreal roster includes several former Sounders FC players. Colombian midfielder Miguel Montano spent two seasons with Seattle before joining the Impact in the off-season. Federal Way native Lamar Neagle also joined Montreal in the off-season after spending two seasons with Sounders FC. Neagle scored five goals with two assists in 23 appearances for Seattle last season. Gambian midfielder Sanna Nyassi also plays for the Impact. Nyassi spent two seasons with Seattle, scoring two goals with three assists in 38 matches. He spent the 2011 season with the Colorado Rapids before joining Montreal in the off-season. Defender Tyson Wahl spent three seasons with Seattle, including a career-high 23 appearances in 2011. Defender Josh Gardner played for the USL Sounders from 2007-08. Montreal goalkeeper coach Preston Burpo was the goalkeeper for the USL Sounders from 1997-2005. Seattle keeper Andrew Weber played for the USL Impact from 2006-08.