Seattle Sounders FC To Face Central American Team in CONCACAF Champions League

Bill HareCorrespondent IMay 20, 2010

SEATTLE - MAY 08:  Fan of the Seattle Sounders FC cheer during the game against the Los Angeles Galaxy on May 8, 2010 at Qwest Field in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

With the Seattle Sounders FC already playing two attractive friendlies with Boca Juniors and Celtic visiting the Xbox Pitch at Qwest Field, there is more of the same type of international activity slated to begin at the end of July.

The Sounders will face a yet-to-be-determined Central American team in the Preliminary Round of the 2010-11 CONCACAF Champions League. The pairings were determined by a draw held Wednesday at the CONCACAF offices in New York.

The first leg of the Preliminary Round will be July 27-29 with the second leg a week later. The winners advance to the six-round Group Stage, which will begin August 17-19.

Sounders FC will play its home match on the Xbox Pitch at Qwest Field. Competition dates and ticket information will be announced soon.

"Champions League is the most important tournament in our region," said General Manager Adrian Hanauer. "As we assessed opportunities to make this a prominent event, Qwest Field became the logical choice."

Winners of the Preliminary Round series will advance to the Group Stage, which begins August 17-19. If Sounders FC advances to the Group Stage, it would join Monterrey (Mexico), Saprissa (Costa Rica) and either Tauro (Panama) or Marathon (Honduras) in Group C.

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Seattle earned a berth in the Champions League Preliminary Round by virtue of winning the 2009 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.

Two Champions League berths were originally allocated to El Salvador, but FIFA has suspended the country due to governmental interference in the federation affairs. The government has until June 8 to comply with FIFA's non-intervention requirements or its teams will be barred from international competition, including the Champions League—and its berths will be reassigned.

CD FAS has already qualified with one of El Salvador's berths, and the second would go to either Aguila or Metapan.

The Los Angeles Galaxy, last season's MLS Cup finalist, will also participate in the Preliminary Round. Supporters' Shield winner Columbus Crew and MLS Cup victor Real Salt Lake have berths in the Group Stage.

The CONCACAF Champions League is open to the leading teams from federations throughout North America, Central America and the Caribbean.

Pachuca of Mexico won the CONCACAF Champions League last month.  It will represent the CONCACAF in the FIFA Club World Cup Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates in December.


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