Seattle Sounders FC is the most successful expansion franchise in the history of Major League Soccer and one of the most successful in American sports.
Every season since coming into the league in 2009, the Sounders have made the playoffs and led the league in attendance. Since 2009, the only MLS team with a better overall record is the Los Angeles Galaxy, a charter franchise dating to 1996.
Seattle’s 12-7-11 debut in its expansion season hasn’t been matched by any of the clubs that have followed them into the league: Philadelphia, Montreal, Portland and Vancouver.
This season, two more newcomers were welcomed: Orlando City SC, which stands at 2-4-2, and New York City FC, 1-4-3. Eight games into its expansion season, the Sounders stood at 4-2-2.
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On Sunday, the Sounders will get their first in-person look at one of the newcomers, visiting NYCFC at Yankee Stadium.
Coach Sigi Schmid noted similarities in the way Seattle and New York headed into their expansion seasons.
“I think there’s a lot of likenesses in terms of they went after a couple of good DPs (designated players) — we brought in (Fredy) Montero, they brought in (David) Villa,” he said. “You’re trying to get some guys in on discovery: they got a Mix Diskerud, we got a Kasey Keller, and so forth. You try to do well in the draft. They also have some people who are still around from the expansion draft, so they still have the (Chris) Wingerts and the (Ned) Grabavoys. (Coach Jason Kreis) got some guys that he’s familiar with, which is sort of what we did with (Brad) Evans and with (Peter) Vagenas being here when I first got there — they were guys that I was familiar with, so that made it a little easier for me. … You need some confidence, you need some wins and you go from there.”
For now, the latest expansion entries are doing better in the stands. Seattle has returned to its familiar position at the top with average home attendance of 40,067. However, Orlando and New York City are second and third at 39,328 and 28,328, respectively.
The Sounders used cones in training Thursday to narrow and shorten their practice field at Starfire Sports to simulate the pitch they will play on at Yankee Stadium. … The team travels to New York on Friday and will practice there Saturday.