USA’s Yedlin returns to Seattle, appreciates home fans

DeAndre Yedlin (white jersey) is suspended for the USA's Copa America Centenario quarterfinal against Ecuador on June 16, 2016. (Photo: Mexsport) 

SEATTLE, Washington – United States defender DeAndre Yedlin was naturally disheartened by the fact that he would miss out on Thursday’s Copa America Centenario quarterfinal against Ecuador due to a one-game suspension.

Those feelings were heightened by the fact that the game will be played in his hometown of Seattle and at CenturyLink Field, where he got his career started with the Seattle Sounders.

“It’s disappointing, of course,” said Yedlin, managing to maintain upbeat tone. “You want to play in front of the fans that you played in front of before and in front of your family.

“Obviously, I can’t play in the match, but I’ll be there cheering on the boys. I know they’ll do great on the field. I’m excited to see them do well and hopefully advance to the semifinals.”

The 22-year-old, who was ejected from Saturday’s Group A finale against Paraguay, enjoyed an outstanding season in the English Premier League with Sunderland while on loan from Tottenham Hotspur. He experienced passionate crowds at the Stadium of Light and numerous other venues throughout Great Britain, but Seattle remains special to the speedy, right-sided player.

“For me, it was the best crowd I played with in the U.S.,” Yedlin commented on the local fans. “I expect nothing less. I know they’ll be out in numbers cheering on the boys.”

The Seattle Sounders’ home crowds in Major League Soccer hover around the 40,000 mark, making them one of best-supported clubs in CONCACAF.

“I think just the passion that the fans have for soccer here,” expressed Yedlin, when asked why Seattle is a special place to play. “It’s unbelievable, it’s unlike anything I’ve seen in the U.S. They come out in numbers. It creates a real home-field advantage. They’ll be doing the same thing on Thursday.”

A win will see the Americans through to their second-ever appearance in the Copa America semifinals. Yedlin doesn’t want to miss out on that potential occasion and believes his teammates can make it happen again.

“At the end of the day, the biggest thing is that we made it through the group,” he finished. “Now we’re in the quarterfinals and we now we have an opportunity to get to the semifinals.”