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Seattle Sounders' CONCACAF Champions League group stage schedule

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The road to the CCL title starts August 5.

Seattle Sounders FC may have unceremoniously crashed out of the US Open Cup, but there is still room for glory in non-MLS action in 2015 in the form of the group stage of the CONCACAF Champions League. The schedule for the opening phase is set: The Sounders return to the regional competition two years and four months after their 2013 semifinal loss to Santos Laguna.

Only the winners of each group advance to next year's knockout tournament, and Seattle has a difficult road ahead. The Vancouver Whitecaps and Seattle are the only MLS teams to share a group, and rounding out Group F is Honduran clausura champions Club Deportivo Olimpia, a team with 29 league titles. In 2013's group stage, Olimpia lost to Sporting Kansas city 0-2 at home, but managed a scoreless draw in the return leg.

In a bit of schedule weirdness, the Sounders visit the Whitecaps on August 5, just four days after hosting them in MLS play. The Wednesday game may complicate the lineup for another important Western Conference match -- away at the Los Angeles Galaxy on Sunday, August 9. Luckily, though, the travel involved is minimal that week. In September, again, Seattle has Vancouver twice in one week (September 19 in MLS and 23 for the second CCL leg at home), before heading to Sporting KC that Sunday.

The home-and-home with Olimpia creates a very busy late August for Seattle. First the Sounders host on the 19th, then they make the treacherous trip to Tegucigalpa for the return leg on August 26. These Wednesday matches fill in the gaps between a visit from Orlando City SC, a trip to Real Salt Lake, and the final match against the Portland Timbers of 2015, at CenturyLink Field on the 30th.

Five matches in 14 days will be the biggest test for Seattle's depth all year. The Sounders take the CCL seriously, seeing it as a pathway to becoming a globally-known club, and Garth Lagerwey's Real Salt Lake showed a similar commitment during his time there. The Sounders will look to build on their past CCL successes, having beaten Monterrey in Mexico (one Erik Friberg was on the bench) and won a two-leg tie with Tigres UNAL to advance to the 2013 semifinal.

Tickets to both home legs are included in the 2015 Sounders season ticket package, in a change from past years. Individual tickets to the home matches aren't yet available.

2015-2016 SCOTIABANK CONCACAF CHAMPIONS LEAGUE GROUP STAGE SCHEDULE

DATE

TIME (PT)

OPPONENT

LOCATION

August 5

7:00 p.m.

at Whitecaps FC

BC Place (Vancouver, BC)

August 19

7:00 p.m.

vs. CD Olimpia

CenturyLink Field (Seattle, WA)

August 26

7:00 p.m.

at CD Olimpia

Estadio Tiburcio Carìas Andino (Tegucigalpa, HND)

Sept. 23

7:00 p.m.

vs. Whitecaps FC

CenturyLink Field (Seattle, WA)

The full CCL group stage schedule is available here.