5 games to look forward to

The MLS schedule for 2009 was released today, giving us the dates and times of every single Sounders game in the inaugural season. There are 30 to pick from, but here’s my take on the five most exciting SSFC matches to look forward to. These dates should be circled on your calendar, preferably in suitable shades of blue or green.

5. Los Angeles at Seattle, May 10. Assuming that David Beckham does suit up for the Galaxy in the coming season, this match will bring a wave of media attention. Assuming that the Sounders’ Freddy Ljungberg has functional legs this season, it will be a matchup between two legitimate European stars, the first of its kind in MLS. Oh, and thanks to the mind of Bruce Arena, the Galaxy might actually be good this season. Hold on to your tickets for this one.

4. Seattle at Columbus, October 3. Not only will this be possibly the hardest match of the season, an away game at the defending champions, but it marks the return to Columbus for former Crew coach/current Sounders coach Sigi Schmid. There was some bad blood over how that transaction was handled, making this match all the more intriguing. The rowdy Crew fans will surely be in full voice.

3. Seattle at San Jose, June 13. In truth, all three Quakes – Sounders clashes will be great games. The teams are relatively geographically close, and have tons of history from the NASL in the 70’s and 80’s. In fact, there has been a trophy created for the winner of this series, aptly named the Heritage Cup. This game will likely determine the winner. Expect to see a big group of Sounders supporters traveling south, creating a fantastic atmosphere.

2. Dallas at Seattle, October 24. The last game of the season is a home one for Seattle, and could have massive playoff implications for one or both of these teams. Plus FC Dallas is a team Seattle has some beef with – they knocked out the USL Sounders in the semis of the ’06 US Open Cup. Sounders supporters are still mad that the match contained less-than-sportsmanlike conduct from several FCD players. I’m looking at you, keeper Dario Sala. And you look like a vampire.

1. New York at Seattle, March 19. Sorry, it’s just too easy. Taking on an MLS Cup finalist on national TV in the first game in franchise history? Very, very hard to top that.

(Except, of course, in the unlikely event of playoffs in ’09. But never say never!)

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