In 1996, as Seattle Seahawks owner Paul Allen worked with the city to build a new football stadium for his team, the potential of an MLS expansion team that could be a co-tenant helped drive public support for the effort. Many of the state’s voters supported the referendum to construct Seahawks Stadium because it was also expected to be a professional soccer venue. While the stadium problem was being resolved, a new issue emerged. By 2000, MLS was moving away from league-operated teams to investor-operated teams, so wealthy individuals would need to step forward for Seattle to obtain an MLS expansion team.
In 2003, Seattle was again listed as a possibility for an MLS expansion team when the ten-team league announced plans to expand into new markets. In 2004, MLS commissioner Don Garber indicated that Seattle had been “very close” to receiving the expansion team ultimately awarded to Salt Lake. Adrian Hanauer, then-owner of the United Soccer League’s (USL) Sounders (formerly the APSL Sounders), was in discussions with MLS about an estimated payment of $1 million to secure rights to a Seattle franchise for 2006. However, when Seattle was passed over again in 2006, Hanauer announced that he would not be able to secure an expansion team without the help of more investors willing to cover the increasing MLS franchise fees which had grown beyond $10 million.
MLS Cup 2016 was the 21st edition of the MLS Cup, the championship game of Major League Soccer (MLS), which took place on December 10, 2016, at BMO Field in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. It was the second final to be hosted in Toronto, after 2010, and the first there since the cup transitioned away from neutral-site venues. The Seattle Sounders won the cup over Toronto FC in a penalty shoot-out that followed a 0–0 draw.
2016 final was the first to be contested between two expansion teams and became the first in league history to end scoreless. Toronto FC became the first Canadian club to play in the MLS Cup, while Seattle won their first title. The title capped a comeback season for the Sounders, who replaced their manager during the middle of the season and climbed from second-to-last in the conference to a playoff spot.
MLS Cup 2019 was the 24th edition of the MLS Cup, the championship match of Major League Soccer (MLS), and took place on November 10, 2019, at CenturyLink Field in Seattle, Washington, United States. The match was contested by Seattle Sounders FC and Toronto FC to determine the champion of the 2019 season. It was a rematch of the 2016 and 2017 editions of the MLS Cup, which were won by Seattle and Toronto, respectively. This was the third final for both teams and the first to be hosted by the Sounders, as both of the previous Seattle–Toronto finals were held at BMO Field in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
The Sounders won 3–1 to claim their second MLS Cup title, in front of 69,274 spectators at CenturyLink Field, setting a new stadium record. All four of the goals were scored in the second half, beginning with a deflected shot by Kelvin Leerdam and followed by strikes from substitute Víctor Rodríguez (later named the match MVP) and Raúl Ruidíaz; Jozy Altidore scored a late consolation goal for Toronto in stoppage time. The match marked the conclusion of the 2019 MLS Cup Playoffs, which was contested by fourteen teams under a new single-elimination format that replaced the former two-legged ties. As a result, this was the earliest calendar date for the MLS Cup showdown since 2002.
The Sounders played their inaugural match on March 19, 2009, winning 3–0 over the New York Red Bulls. Seattle has been among the league’s most successful teams, winning the U.S. Open Cup four times, the Supporters’ Shield in 2014, and the MLS Cup in 2016 and 2019. The team has qualified for the MLS Cup Playoffs in each of its eleven seasons, making the final three times, and competed in the CONCACAF Champions League five times, advancing to the semifinal round once. The team set a new MLS record for average attendance in each of its first five seasons. The Sounders are ranked as one of the most valuable franchises in North America.
2009 – Present / Major League Soccer
2009 – Present / Seattle Sounders FC
Sounders FC – Named in honor of Puget Sound, which is located in Seattle, name originally used by Seattle’s North American Soccer League (NASL) team.
MLS Cups 2
2009 – Present / CenturyLink Field
2019 – Present / Adrian Hanauer (majority), Jody Allen, Drew Carey, Terry Myerson and Katie Myerson, Russell Wilson, Ciara, Macklemore and Tricia Davis, Satya Nadella and Anu Nadella, Amy Hood and Max Kleinman, Joe Belfiore and Kristina Belfiore, S. Somasegar and Akila Somasegar, Chee Chew and Christine Chew, David Nathanson and Sabina Nathanson, Brian McAndrews and Elise Holschuh, Mark Agne and Tomoko Agne
2018 – 2019 / Adrian Hanauer (majority), Drew Carey, Joe Roth, and Estate of Paul Allen
2015 – 2018 / Adrian Hanauer (majority), Paul Allen, Drew Carey and Joe Roth
2007 – 2015 / Joe Roth (majority), Adrian Hanauer, Paul Allen and Drew Carey
*Blue is this team’s history