With their first official matches of the preseason just a couple days away, the Seattle Sounders gave some updates to their schedule and roster on Thursday.
The Sounders will play two warm-up matches ahead of their Club World Cup opener on Feb. 4, both this Saturday in Marbella, Spain. The first will be against Austria’s Wolfsberger at 4:30 AM Seattle time and it will be followed by a match against Sweden’s Hammarby at 7 AM. The team will remain in Spain for a few more days before leaving for Tangier, Morocco on Feb. 2.
The Sounders also announced that they’ll be playing a preseason match after returning home against USL Championship side Louisville City in Seattle on Feb. 18 at 10 AM. It has apparently not yet been decided if it will be open to fans. In previous preseasons, the Sounders have sometimes played preseason matches behind closed doors and other times have admitted fans. Their MLS regular-season opener is on Feb. 26 against the Colorado Rapids.
The Sounders also released an updated preseason roster, which has been pared down considerably from the start of training camp. There are now just four players who aren’t on first-team contracts: Antonio Herrera, Georgi Minoungou, Wallis Lapsley and Cody Baker, all of whom are signed to the Tacoma Defiance. Notably absent are trialist Tate Schmitt and draft picks Eythor Bjørgolfsson and Blake Bowen, the latter two of whom have apparently both signed MLS Next Pro contracts with the Defiance.
Club World Cup on TV
There’s been no official announcement, but Fox Sports has finally put the Club World Cup on its TV schedule. The Sounders’ match on Feb. 4 is scheduled to air on both FS2 and Fox Deportes with coverage starting at 9 AM PT, and will be followed by what appears to be a mini-documentary that documents their path to the Concacaf Champions League title.
João Paulo update
Appearing on the podcast Sounderscast, João Paulo said he was 90-95% back to full fitness but also noted that doctors wanted him to wait nine months before returning to full action. The start of the MLS season is almost exactly nine months from his ACL injury, but the Club World Cup is closer to 8.5 months.