Clint Dempsey didn't exactly flourish for Seattle, but he certainly made a big splash with his ballyhooed move from the Premier League back into MLS.

Clint Dempsey’s home debut in Seattle: SOLD OUT


It will be interesting to see if the Sounders reconsider their thinking on seating around CenturyLink as the Clint Dempsey effect demonstrates its ongoing influence at the gate.

The Sounders have always resisted the urge to open up more seats, careful to retain the benefit of “demand,” even if it is artificially created.

The calculation ahead is fairly straight-forward: Can the far-and-away MLS attendance leaders consistently generate even more ticket revenue by opening additional seating areas? We know this for doggone sure: they can sell plenty for one big, massive, humdinger of an evening.

The humdinger in question is, of course, the U.S. international’s home debut. The Sounders play twice on the road, at Toronto this weekend and at Houston a week later, before home fans get a chance to see their new money man in person on CenturyLink turf.

And that bad boy, on Aug. 25, is already sold out.  It’s the “big” sellout, too, as the full upper deck is open plus additional seating being added. All that means 66,000-plus.

It’s not just the ballyhooed DP Deuce Debut (high-priced lawyers are trademarking that as we speak), it’s a Cascadia Cup contest against rival Portland as well.

CenturyLink is already the site of the second-largest stand-alone MLS crowd in 18 seasons; a crowd of 66,452 roared in the Pacific Northwest last fall for another Sounders-Timbers contest there.

The MLS stand-along record (that is, a match that was not part of an international doubleheader) is 69,255 for the Galaxy-New York match in 1996.

Here’s what Sounders GM Adrian Hanauer said during Monday’s news conference on the CenturyLink seating matter going forward: “We’ll take it day by day, kind of see and get through this initial period and go into a deep dive with the business group and figure out the best way to monetize this, but because the reality is that generating some additional revenue would be good to defray some of the costs. But we’re a little too close to know exactly how we’ll do it.”

EURO 2016: Who’s headed to France?

PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC - OCTOBER 10: Volkan Sen of Turkey in action during the UEFA EURO 2016 Group A Qualifier match between Czech Republic and Turkey at Letna Stadium on October 10, 2015 in Prague, Czech Republic. (Photo by Matej Divizna/Getty Images)
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The group stage of qualification is complete, as 20 teams have clinched a berth at EURO 2016, which kicks off next summer in France.

The top-two finishers in each group automatically qualified, as did the best third-place side out of all the groups (Turkey). France qualified automatically as the host nation.

[ MORE: EURO 2016 roundup ]

That leaves eight third-place teams to battle for the final four spots through a play-off. The draw for the matchups will take place on October 18, and those matches will be held from November 12-17 as a home-and-home play-off.

Group A

  1. Czech Republic
  2. Iceland
  3. Turkey (automatically qualified as best third-place side)

Group B

  1. Belgium
  2. Wales
  3. Bosnia and Herzegovina (qualified for play-off)

Group C

  1. Spain
  2. Slovakia
  3. Ukraine (qualified for play-off)

Group D

  1. Germany
  2. Poland
  3. Republic of Ireland (qualified for play-off)

Group E

  1. England
  2. Switzerland
  3. Slovenia (qualified for play-off)

Group F

  1. Northern Ireland
  2. Romania
  3. Hungary (qualified for play-off)

Group G

  1. Austria
  2. Russia
  3. Sweden (qualified for play-off)

Group H

  1. Italy
  2. Croatia
  3. Norway (qualified for play-off)

Group I

  1. Portugal
  2. Albania
  3. Denmark (qualified for play-off)

EURO 2016: Dutch disaster as Netherlands fail to qualify

AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS - OCTOBER 13:  Robin van Persie of the Netherlands (19) reacts during the UEFA EURO 2016 qualifying Group A match between the Netherlands and the Czech Republic at Amsterdam Arena on October 13, 2015 in Amsterdam, Netherlands.  (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)
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The group stage of qualifying for the 2016 European Championship has come to a close, and one of the top teams in the world will not be playing in France next summer.

Netherlands 2-3 Czech Republic

The Netherlands finished second at the 2010 World Cup and third at the 2014 World Cup, but have failed to qualify for EURO 2016. Playing in front of a home crowd in a must-win match against the Czech Republic, the Dutch got off to a dreadful start, falling behind 2-0 as manager Danny Blind was forced to make a substitution within the opening 40 minutes. The Czech Republic was sent to ten men before the break, but an own-goal from Robin Van Persie made it 3-0 as the Dutch couldn’t recover. A disastrous result for the Netherlands, as big changes will surely come from the top down.

[ RELATED: David de Gea fighting for starting goalkeeper position with Spain ]

Italy 2-1 Norway

Italy finishes atop Group H without a loss after defeating Norway 2-1 today. Norway took the lead through Norwich City’s Alexander Tettey, but late goals from Alessandro Florenzi and Southampton’s Graziano Pelle gave the Italians all three points.

Malta 0-1 Croatia

With Norway’s loss, Croatia jumped into second place in Group H and secured qualification to EURO 2016 with a 1-0 win away at Malta. Inter Milan’s Ivan Perisic scored the game’s only goal, as Croatia advances despite having one point deducted due to inappropriate actions from their fans.

Elsewhere in EURO qualifying

Group A

Turkey 1-0 Iceland
Latvia 0-1 Kazakhstan

Group B

Belgium 3-1 Israel
Wales 2-0 Andorra
Cyprus 2-3 Bosnia and Herzegovina

Group H

Bulgaria 2-0 Azerbaijan