First rumored on February 29th, the Seattle Sounders FC will face Chelsea FC in this year's midseason friendly on Wednesday 18 July 2012. This will be Chelsea's third trip to Seattle in the past nine years, and second facing the Sounders. Also in the press release announcing the friendly is that the club will sell a four-pack of tickets that includes the Portland Timbers, Vancouver Whitecaps and the August 5th visit by the LA Galaxy, their second.
The four-pack starts at $110. In order to fit the high demand the entire stadium will be sold for three regular season matches as well as the friendly. Though the original murmur from Don Garber was just for the Cascadia matches to feature a potential 67,000 sell-out number, the inclusion of the LA Galaxy creates an intriguing mix of local rivalry, celebrity, a global power and the only club in MLS clearly better than Seattle during the Sounders MLS era.
"We welcome a return visit from one of the premier teams and leaders in the football world with Chelsea FC," said Sounders FC owner Joe Roth in the press release. "I'm looking forward to an unprecedented match day experience not only for Chelsea FC but also for LA, Vancouver and Portland."
That's the bar. The test if you will. Rival to the North, to the South, to the distant South and an international visitor. It is a package of soccer glamour. It is a package in which trophies can be won, passions inflamed and the a club that is among the top 10 in the world will face the local side. Benches will not be emptied. There is no match the weekend after the friendly. The test is set-up for the fans, for the city, for the marketing department and for the players.
What will the word sellout mean after 2012 with a four-pack like this?