More details should come later today, when the official announcement of Barcelona's Aug. 5 visit is expected.
And then we should get some reaction from the Sounders around noon when they wrap today's training session.
However, there's no way to see this except as a towering home run for the franchise. They sold 18-game season ticket packages as 15 MLS games and three other games they'd put together later ... asking for something of a leap of faith by fans.
And now we know how they filled those three games: Barcelona, Chelsea, MLS Cup. Amazing.
Update: And now, here's the official release from MLS:
FC Barcelona, one of the world's most popular and successful clubs – and the current UEFA Champions League and Copa del Rey finalists – will return to the United States this summer for the second consecutive year. FC Barcelona will tour the west coast, taking on the LA Galaxy on Saturday, August 1 at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif. (8 p.m.), and the Seattle Sounders FC on Wednesday, August 5 at Qwest Field in Seattle (7:30 p.m.). There will be a third game to conclude the FCB Tour. Details are being finalized and will be announced shortly. The preseason tour was announced today by Major League Soccer (MLS) in conjunction with FC Barcelona and the MLS teams.
Tickets to see the Spanish giant, whose honors include 18 La Liga trophies, a record-setting 24 Copa del Rey championships and two UEFA Champions League titles, will go on sale to the general public in the coming weeks. Tickets will be available for purchase at www.Ticketmaster.com/mls, the MLS team websites and by calling 1-800-745-3000.
FC Barcelona, whose heralded roster of international superstars currently includes Lionel Messi, Rafa Marquez, Xavi, Carles Puyol, Thierry Henry and Andres Iniesta – who scored the goal that propelled Barça into the Champion's League final – will look to secure its third UEFA Champions League crown on Wednesday, May 27 against Manchester United, at Rome's Stadio Olimpico.
Barça is in the midst of one of their best campaigns in recent history, and in position to win all three of their major tournaments: Spain's La Liga, UEFA Champions League and Copa del Rey. After defeating Real Madrid 6-2 in La Liga's Clasico this past weekend, FC Barcelona is at the top of its league's standings with 85 points, within range of conquering their 19th domestic title. The club also advanced to the prestigious Copa del Rey final and will face Athletic Bilbao on Wednesday, May 13.
In the second year of a five-year partnership, FC Barcelona, MLS and its commercial arm Soccer United Marketing (SUM), proudly see this year's tour as a continuation of the cooperation fostered in FCB's visits in 2006 and 2008.
"After a season in which we've played great soccer and based on our unforgettable experiences in past tours, we at FC Barcelona are excited to take our great players and performances to our fans in the United States once again," said FC Barcelona President Joan Laporta. "Together with MLS and SUM, we look forward to great competition from the Galaxy and Sounders, and leaving our mark on the West Coast of the U.S."
"We're pleased to have FC Barcelona return to the United States this summer," said Soccer United Marketing President Doug Quinn. "Arguably, they are the most exciting team in international soccer today. Their partnership with MLS and their upcoming tour reflect their commitment to soccer and their fans in the region. We look forward to memorable matches with great stadium atmosphere featuring MLS clubs against an opponent whose year could be remembered as one of the best of all time."
This will mark Barça's third tour on American soil in partnership with SUM. In 2006, the FC Barcelona USA Tour registered the highest average attendance for any club tour in U.S. history, averaging 80,734 in three matches. Barcelona played in front of three sold-out crowds: at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum (vs. CD Guadalajara, 1-1 on Aug. 6 in front of 92,650), at Houston's Reliant Stadium (vs. Club America, 3-3 on Aug. 9, with a crowd of 70,550), and at Giants Stadium in E. Rutherford, NJ (vs. NY Red Bulls, 4-1 on Aug. 12, in front of 79,002).
In 2008, FC Barcelona USA Tour visited two cities and averaged 40,000 fans. On August 3, FC Barcelona defeated one of Mexico's most historic clubs, CD Guadalajara, 5-2 at Chicago's Soldier Field. Three days later, on Aug. 6, Barça defeated MLS' New York Red Bulls 6-2 at New Jersey's Giants Stadium.
FCBarcelona is a private sports association which was founded 108 years ago. It has more than 160,000 members from all around the world and its goal is to promote sport practice as well as social, cultural and philanthropic initiatives. On the sporting front, FCB is one of the most honoured clubs in Europe. Apart from football, FCB has four other professional sports –basketball, handball, roller hockey and five a side football – and eight non-professional sports such as volleyball, athletics and ice hockey. The club channels all activities related to FC Barcelona's social identity through the FCBarcelona Foundation.