Pre-Season Preview: Seattle Sounders FC

Pre-season is only 8 days away, & one one can sense the excitement beginning to build among Chelsea fans. With Euro 2012 having concluded only 9 days back, no one could have complained about a lack of football. However, nothing beats the thrill of watching your club in action so the fact that pre-season is nearly upon us is indeed a cause for celebration.

The schedule for our pre-season matches in the USA (if you didn’t already know) is as follows:
July 18, 2012: Chelsea FC vs. Seattle Sounders FC

July 22, 2012: Chelsea FC vs. Paris Saint-Germain
July 25, 2012: Chelsea FC vs. MLS All-Stars
July 28, 2012: Chelsea FC vs. AC Milan

The 1st match we play in the US is against local club Seattle Sounders FC. You could be forgiven for not knowing who they are (I’ll admit I hadn’t heard of them until recently, as the MLS is not a league I follow). Let me give you a brief introduction about the club.

Sounders after winning the U.S. Open Cup 2011

Seattle Sounders FC was established in November 2007 as part of the MLS expansion taking place at the time. They became the 15th team to play in the MLS. The city of Seattle has always had a strong fan-base for football, and it’s evident even today. Every one of their league matches has been sold out, & they have constantly set records for average attendance in the MLS. Their home stadium, CenturyLink Field has a capacity of 67,000. However, parts of the stadium are kept covered to create an “intimate atmosphere” when football matches are played. Due to a high demand for seats, the stadium will now keep 38,500 seats open for football matches in 2012. The club have made the MLS play-offs in each of their first 3 seasons. They have also achieved domestic cup success, having won the U.S. Open Cup (domestic knockout tournament that has been active since 1914) thrice.

From a football & business perspective, it isn’t hard to tell why Chelsea chose the city of Seattle to play their first match in. Chelsea FC are a club known around the world, & Seattle has an established footballing fan-base. The fact that Seattle Sounders have enjoyed  Cup success mean that fans will be willing to to watch their local team battle it out against world-renowned talent. All in all, the match should be an exciting one to watch.

I’m not going to go into score predictions. I’m just going to wait for 18th July, sit back & enjoy watching Chelsea play again. Bring it on!

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