Two men who will be key to the USA hopes in this summer’s FIFA World Cup lead their respective soccer teams Saturday afternoon at CenturyLink Field in Seattle.

Clint Dempsey was a factor in Seattle Sounders FC’s dramatic season-opening victory against Sporting Kansas City.  It was Dempsey’s header off the cross bar which created chaos and Chad Barrett’s game winning goal in the 93rd minute.

Seattle tries to ride that momentum against the new-look Toronto FC, a club which added international star power in the off season.  In January, AS Roma sold center midfielder Michael Bradley to Toronto for $10 million.  Bradley and Dempsey were originally selected in the 2004 MLS Superdraft and have been core players for the USMNT

Sounders FC team captain Brad Evans has played in World Cup qualifying matches with Bradley.

“When we played Toronto last year they were a very good team. They were young, so I think adding Mike (Bradley) to that mix automatically makes them a better team, a little bit more organized.  Any time you add a player of that caliber adds to the spirits of the group,” said Evans.

Brazilian standouts Gilberto and Julio Cesar, along with former MLS MVP Dwayne De Rosario should make “The Reds”  a formidable opponent for the “Rave Green”.  It is Toronto’s first match after a bye week to open the season.

New Seattle goalkeeper Stefan Frei spent four seasons with Toronto FC.  He entered the 2013 pre-season as their first choice keeper, but suffered a minor injury and lost the job to Joe Bendik.  Frei had a solid debut in nets for Sounders FC last Saturday.

Sounders FC fans should note Saturday’s first kick time is moved to 1:30 p.m. for television coverage.  It was originally scheduled for 7 p.m.  Also, plan on  traffic delays due to construction and St. Patrick’s Day festivities in downtown Seattle.

-Bill Swartz, am1090thefan-

(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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