Those two placeholders in your season ticket pack? They’re for international friendlies this season as the Sounders have announced matches against Bundesliga club Eintracht Frankfurt (July 8) as well as Liga MX side Club Necaxa (March 25).
Eintracht Frankfurt is the relative big fish here. Die Adler have a long and storied history and have played on Europe’s biggest stage over their 117-year existence. Frankfurt are enjoying a resurgence of form this season after appointing former Croatia head coach Niko Kovac last spring. They currently sit third in the Bundesliga table and boast fun-to-watch dynamic talent including Mexican international Marco Fabian, Alexander Meier, Swiss international Haris Seferovic, and the functioning version of USMNT rightback Timothy Chandler.
The more compelling of the two fixtures for any Sounders fan who subscribes to Trophies Not Friendlies will undoubtedly be the Club Necaxa match. "Like our friendly match against Club Tijuana in 2015, we believe playing against top Mexican opponents in a competitive setting better prepares us for our next edition of CONCACAF's regional tournament," said Garth Lagerwey in a press release.
Necaxa have been a perennial division bouncer over the last several seasons and won promotion to Liga MX following Clausura 2016. They finished 7th in the Apertura 2016 and made the Liguilla semi-finals, before losing to Club America.
With the fanbase’s well known stance on friendlies, splitting the difference between using friendlies as a promotional fixture and using them as a professional tune-up is an admirable move. Especially considering there won’t be a CONCACAF Champions League this season to strut around in.
Both matches will be played on Saturdays during what would otherwise be bye weeks on international dates. The Necaxa match comes a day after the United States hosts Honduras in a World Cup qualifier, while the Frankfurt match falls during the Gold Cup group stage.