The Sounders will open CenturyLink Field to its full capacity for four games this season — against Vancouver Aug. 1, Portland Aug. 30, Los Angeles Oct. 4 and the regular-season finale against Salt Lake Oct. 25.
Part-owner Adrian Hanauer also said the stadium will be fully open for the Manchester United-Club America friendly July 17.
On the non-MLS front, the Sounders and their ever-chummy Northwest brethren, the Timbers, get to meet anew — this time June 16 when both enter the U.S. Open Cup play at the fourth-round level. The draw, announced Thursday, puts the MLS rivals at Starfire Sports Stadium in Tukwila for a 7:30 start.
Since the Sounders’ first-year S2 developmental team in the USL is also in the tourney, that will make for some tricky roster juggling. Open Cup rules state that once a player is on the roster for a side, he must remain there for the tourney.
Although the Cup is a second-tier tourney, the Sounders have won it four times, including last year, and try to take it seriously. But the match comes between two home MLS games: June 13 vs. Dallas and June 20 vs. San Jose.
So apportioning playing time for the same 18 players over three matches in eight days will be tricky, particularly since the Sounders can’t add S2 players as long as the team stays alive in Cup play.
A year ago in Cup play, the Sounders eliminated Portland 3-1 in extra time.