The Sounders return to training today, with Clint Dempsey back among them. Dempsey is scheduled to be made available to the media after the training session, so I'll be back with more then.
Until then, a look ahead to the second Sounders-Timbers meeting of the week ... but this one is expected to be played in front of about 56,000 more people and a national television audience. Below some Sounders notes on both of those topics:
National SpotlightSunday's match will be the team's first game on ESPN in the 2014 campaign. Six Sounders FC matches will be televised on ESPN this season, including the next three games (Portland Timbers, Tottenham Hotspur and LA Galaxy). Overall, Seattle has 14 nationally televised matches in the regular season and will play 11 of its final 17 games on ESPN or NBC, including its next five MLS outings.
Back to CenturyLink FieldSounders FC return to CenturyLink Field for the first time since May 31, when the club downed Real Salt Lake, 4-0. Seattle has won five consecutive home games, marking the longest home winning streak in MLS this season. Overall, Sounders FC is 6-2-0 at CenturyLink Field, earning the second-most points (18) at home in 2014.
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Full-Stadium CrowdCenturyLink Field will be opened to full capacity on Sunday for just the second time this season. In the previous match, Seattle beat the San Jose Earthquakes, 1-0, in front of a crowd of 49,746. Sounders FC has opened the entire stadium for nine regular-season games in club history, going 8-0-1 with an average attendance of 59,928. In games with an attendance of more than 40,000, Sounders FC is 9-0-3 with a plus-17 goal differential (25 goals scored with eight goals allowed). The largest attendance for a Sounders FC match was 67,385 in a 1-nil win over the Portland Timbers on August 25, 2013, marking the second-largest crowd for a standalone match in MLS history.
Seattle will host six full-stadium matches in 2014, including the San Jose Earthquakes (May 17), Portland Timbers (July 13), Tottenham Hotspur (July 19), Houston Dynamo (August 10), Vancouver Whitecaps FC (October 10) and LA Galaxy (October 25).