The Seattle Sounders aren’t exactly looking to be hospitable guests when expansion Los Angeles FC opens Banc of California Stadium on Sunday night.
“I look at it as like, ‘Hey, let’s go ruin their party,’” said Sounders forward Will Bruin, whose team lost its home opener 1-0 to LAFC on March 4. “They’re opening a new stadium, they want the result, they want a nice easy game. We can go in and play spoiler. I mean, to be honest, the pressure is on them. It’s the first game in their stadium, they don’t want to open (with a loss).”
After playing its first six matches on the road, LAFC (4-2-0) finally has a home.
“It’s been a different feel for sure,” LAFC midfielder Mark-Anthony Kaye said of training this week. “I think knowing we don’t have to go on the road, maybe lose a day of training to travel, it’s going to do wonders for the guys leading up to the game. We’re just happy to play in this big stadium. It’s unbelievable.”
The stadium, on the site of the former Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena, cost $350 million and seats 22,000.
Prior to last week’s trip to Montreal, LAFC players had a scrimmage at the new stadium following the ribbon-cutting ceremony.
Goalkeeper Tyler Miller, a former Sounders backup, noted how close the nets are at each end to the stands.
“When you have a section of seats that people literally aren’t allowed to sit down, I can only imagine it’s going to be pretty rowdy. Honestly, I feel bad for the opposing goalie because it’s never easy when they are that on top of you,” Miller said. “You’re trying to communicate to defenders and they literally can’t hear a single word that you’re saying, even if they are 20 yards away.”
Players said they expect the crowd to be loud, especially after LAFC supporters filled sections of StubHub Center for a match against the rival Galaxy.
“We haven’t had a home game yet, but we had a lot of interaction with them. They’ve made their voices heard and it’s been exciting,” defender Steven Beitashour said. “We got a little glimpse of it against the Galaxy, the numbers we have and how loud and passionate they are. If that’s a glimpse of what it’s going to be like on Sunday, things are going to be looking good.”
The Sounders (1-3-1), who failed to score in their first three matches, are coming off their first win of the season, a 3-1 decision over Minnesota United.
—Field Level Media