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When: July 18, 2012 at 6:30 p.m. PST
Where: CenturyLink Field; Seattle, Washington
The biggest risk with any preseason game is injuries. You always worry about a star, or any player for that matter, picking up a knock that could keep them on the sideline for when the real games start. One way to help ensure that doesn’t happen is keep the conditions the players are used to playing in as consistent as possible.
Seattle is cool, wet and dreary. Sounds like London, no?
But when it comes to the game itself, this should be quite the spectacle. The Sounders are a formidable side, currently in third place in the Western conference of the MLS. They also boast the third best defense in the league, averaging only a single goal against per game. Though you could attribute some of that to the most raucous crowd in the league.
The Sounders have led the league in attendance since they joined three seasons ago, regularly drawing 38,000 fans. Odds are that crowd will be at least that large as the football fanatics of the Pacific Northwest flock to the city to get a glimpse of the European champions.
Those fans will also get their first glimpse of this “new” Chelsea side. Rarely does a team that wins the Champions League see the players who led them to that title leave and are able to say they stand a better chance of winning the next season.
But the acquisition of Belgian star Eden Hazard, resurgence of Fernando Torres at the Euros, the potential signing of Brazilian youngster Oscar and most importantly a steady clubhouse, Chelsea getting off to a hot start could make them favorites. That start happens in Seattle where fans around the world will see these new Blues players for the first time.
Not that it really means anything to the team. There will be plenty of rust and testing of tactics in this matchup. There will also be some interesting lineups as the players who participated in Euros will get limited playing time at best.