Seattle Sounders FC will play a friendly match against an international club in 2014 after skipping the practice for the first time this season.
“We like doing the friendlies,” general manager Adrian Hanauer said Tuesday. “There’s some fans who don’t like friendlies. There are a lot of fans who do like the friendlies, I guess by empirical evidence of the number of fans who show up for the friendlies. It’s a great opportunity. We’ve talked about measuring ourselves against teams around the world — off the field and on the field. This is one of those ways where we can measure ourselves.”
The Sounders played seven international friendlies over their first four seasons: Chelsea and Barcelona in 2009; Boca Juniors, Celtic and Chivas Guadalajara in 2010; Manchester United in 2011, and Chelsea again in 2012.
Seattle is 2-5 in those matches, with victories over Boca Juniors and Guadalajara. Attendance has ranged from 67,052 for Man U to 40,122 for Boca.
Despite the crowds, some season-ticket holders have argued they shouldn’t have to pay for friendlies, and other supporters have said it is in the club’s competitive interest to play only meaningful games.
However, the 2014 season-ticket package will include 18 games: 17 regular-season Major League Soccer matches and a friendly against an opponent to be determined.
Hanauer said the Sounders will consider moves before MLS rosters freeze Friday. “We’re always in contact with other teams, we’re always looking at players and we’re always trying to strengthen the squad,” he said. “It’s about all I can say. I have no prognostication about whether we’ll do something.” … U.S. national team members Clint Dempsey and Eddie Johnson, who scored in the Americans’ 2-0 win over Mexico, will travel from Columbus, Ohio, to Seattle on Wednesday and are expected to resume Sounders training Thursday. Coach Sigi Schmid said the availability of either player for the Real Salt Lake match Friday will depend on the toll from their international duty. “We’ll have to see … how they feel,” Schmid said.