Sounders Insider

Unlimited attendance 'as high as 50,000' Thursday

You may recall that the Sounders game against New York was one of the games included in the special mini-package that includes Manchester United friendly. That means more than the usual number of Qwest Field seats and sections will be open Thursday.

We asked general manager Adrian Hanauer today what kind of crowd he's expecting.

"I would think something in the 45-plus range," he said, obviously speaking in thousands. "Maybe as high as 50,000."

The actual number is unlimited, right up the the NFL capacity of 67,000, because Hanauer says tickets will be sold and sections open to accommodate whatever number of fans choose to show up. That makes this a rare opportunity for fans who sometimes can't get Sounders tickets to be sure of getting them.

"Beautiful day: Come on out for a game," Hanauer said, before adding: "I don't have to pitch tickets very often. ... Hopefully both teams will play some good soccer and ... we send some 15,000 newly exposed fans home with a win."

Here's a note on the topic, provided by the club:

The first of Seattle's 40 consecutive sellouts for MLS home matches began with a 3-nil win over New York in the inaugural game on March 19, 2009. Since then over 1 million fans have come to both witness and create the most vibrant atmosphere in the North American game. But the biggest crowds are yet to come.

For the first time in MLS play, on Thursday Sounders FC will open upper level seating beyond normal capacity of 35,500. Tickets are available for $15.

With increased capacity the New York match will likely draw the largest attendance for an MLS regular season match in nearly four years. Sounders FC have smashed league attendance records the past two seasons and are looking to do it again. Their current average is 36,297 after setting a new standard of 36,173 in 2010.