After a season ending in heartbreak, the Seattle Sounders are looking to bounce back in 2019. The season came to a close with a nail-biting penalty shootout against the Portland Timbers in the MLS playoff semifinals. Seattle ended up falling short 4–2 in the shoot­out, leaving the team thinking about what could have been. Losing to a life­long rival is never good — but being eliminated from the playoffs in that way left an even worse taste is the Sounder’s mouths.

Despite the loss of defenseman Os­valdo Alonso, the main core of last year’s team will be returning and hun­gry for redemption. However, Alonso’s departure will also leave the team in search of a new captain on the field. There are a number of players who have already been mentioned as candidates for Alonso’s replacement, one of them being 4th year midfielder Cristian Roldan, who took on a much larger role in the 2018 season. Roldan also has experience playing for the United States Men’s National Team and was recently named a starter for one of the team’s matches. Roldan has brought nothing but successful benefits from his experience with the national team.

“I think I had a great experience in terms of getting to know the guys, the soccer, the information. The two games itself were overall a good experience and I hope to bring back positive vibes to Seattle,” Roldan said after playing a pair of USMNT games in January.

The team also brings back last year’s leading goal scorer Raúl Ruidíaz. This will be Ruidiaz’s second year with Se­attle after scoring a total of 10 goals in 2018 — two of which were in the final playoff game in Portland.

Seattle’s slow start to the 2018 sea­son has become a common occurrence over the last couple of years. Last year, the team posted a dismal 3–9–3 record in the first half of the season, leaving them in last place in the western confer­ence. Although the team always seem to snap out of it in the 2nd half of the season — last year being their 10th straight trip to the MLS playoffs — a strong first half for 2019 could be what this team needs to bring another MLS Cup home.

Returning midfielder Nico Lodeiro has liked what he has seen so far in the preseason and feels that the team can avoid another slow start this year.

“We’re still in preseason and we need to keep improving and working on it,” Lodeiro said. “Because if we keep playing like this, we aren’t going to do very well. So, we need to continue to improve. It’s preseason, so we’re going to keep working on it.”

To add more excitement to the up­coming season, the organization has announced a new special discount for college students. The college pass grants students a ticket to every home game for $10 a game. This is a first for Seattle sports, as there have been multiple designated college games but never a pass for a whole season. The pass is designed for students on a budget to still be able to afford a day out cheering on the Sounders at CenturyLink Field.

Also, designated tickets for Seattle’s annual college day game will be on sale at UWT’s Student Involvement Center. Tickets will go on sale on a future date and the price will be $15. The ticket also includes a $10 concession vouch­er along with entrance to the game.

The Seattle Sounders FC kicks off the 2019 season with back to back Sat­urday home games on Mar. 2 and Mar. 9, both at 7 p.m. Also, be on the look­out for Tacoma’s own professional soc­cer team and reserve team of the Sounders — the Tacoma Defiance. They kick off their season on Mar. 8 at Cheney Stadium.

Upcoming Games

3/9Vs Colorado. 7:00 p.m.
3/16@ Chicago, 10:00 a.m.
3/30@ Vancouver, 7:00 p.m.
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