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Employees from Virginia Mason Franciscan Health will get first peek at Sounders

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SOCCER: NOV 10 MLS Cup Final - Toronto FC at Seattle Sounders FC Photo by Jeff Halstead/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

As the Seattle Sounders prepare for their last scrimmage before the regular season starts next Friday, they are taking the opportunity to thank those who have been on the front lines in the battle against Covid-19.

The Sounders announced Friday that 200 tickets to Saturdays scrimmage against the San Diego Loyal have been distributed to employees from Virginia Mason Franciscan Health and their families. It represents the first time that fans will be in attendance for a Sounders match in well over a year. The last match that saw fans attending was a March 7 match against the Columbus Crew that ended in a 1-1 draw. Shortly thereafter, MLS announced a temporary suspension of the season due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“We are so incredibly proud of, and grateful for, our frontline workers,” said Sounders FC President of Business Operations Peter Tomozawa in a team release. “As we prepare to welcome fans back to Lumen Field this season, it felt right that these community heroes be the first to see the Sounders on the pitch and experience the new matchday elements dedicated to creating a safe and healthy live sports experience.”

The match will serve as a dry run of sorts, as the Sounders prepare to open up Lumen Field to fans on April 16 against Minnesota United in the 2021 season opener. The Sounders are set to open up approximately 7000 tickets to fans on April 13. Those in attendance will be the first to be introduced to the updated safety measures at Lumen Field, which include elements like required face coverings, pod seating, touchless ticketing, touchless restroom upgrades, new food and beverage protocol and more.

While the Sounders earlier this week announced they had received approval to welcome fans back to Lumen Field, there has been a rise in positive Covid-19 tests in the region, and the State of Washington is preparing to issue updated guidance on April 12. If the rise in positive tests continues, certain counties could be pushed back to Phase 2, which could impact attendance at sporting events — including the Sounders.