The Seattle Times
Sounders FC has arranged a friendly with Mexican club Veracruz next week in preparation for its CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal series against Tigres UANL next month.
Veracruz — known as the Red Sharks — will play Seattle at 6 p.m. Feb. 22 at Kino Sports Complex in Tucson, Ariz.
The Champions League quarterfinal begins March 6 in Monterrey, Mexico, and concludes March 12 at CenturyLink Field.
“This is good preparation for our match against Tigres,” coach Sigi Schmid said via a press release that accompanied the Veracruz announcement Monday. “It’s important to play another team from Mexico, and we are very thankful that Veracruz is able to do so. It’s a good opportunity for our team to play against that style of play, because it is different from what we face in MLS.”
The Sounders are in Tucson for preseason training, which includes four games against other MLS teams in the Desert Diamond Cup. That competition begins Wednesday with a match against New England and continues Saturday against Salt Lake.
The new friendly creates a jammed schedule toward the end of next week when the Sounders will play three matches in four days: Feb. 20 vs. New York, Feb. 22 vs. Veracruz and Feb. 23 in either the championship or third-place game of the Desert Diamond Cup.
Seattle begins its fifth MLS regular season March 2, when Montreal visits CenturyLink Field.
The Sounders announced that supplemental draft pick Lebogang Moloto and players Leo Lelis and Shavar Thomas are no longer with the club. However, defender Mikael Silvestre arrived Monday. He is 35 years old and has played with the French national team, Manchester United, Arsenal and last season with Werder Bremen of Germany. He had a tryout with Portland a week ago and scored the lone goal in the Timbers’ friendly against Seattle. … Grant Wahl of Sports Illustrated and Fox Soccer television reported Monday that the United States national team’s home World Cup qualifier against Panama on June 11 will be played at CenturyLink Field. U.S. Soccer told MLSsoccer.com: “Nothing is finalized in terms of venues for the other four home World Cup qualifying matches.”
Don Ruiz: 253-597-8808 firstname.lastname@example.org blog.thenewstribune.com/soccer @donruiztnt