Most all of the CONCACAF Champions League pairings were announced today, but the Sounders don't know anything except that they'll be playing what is called Central American 12.
("They're a little better than Central America 13, but not as strong as Central America 10," coach Sigi Schmid cracked.)
The holdup is that the Sounders would play a club from El Salvador, but according to the CONCACAF announcment:
Two berths originally were allocated to El Salvador, but FIFA has suspended the country due to governmental interference in the federation's affairs. The government has until June 8 to comply with FIFA's non-intervention requirements or its teams will be barred from international competition, including the Champions League - and its berths will be reassigned.
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Therefore, the Sounders opening opponent and sites/dates of the home-and-road games may not be announced for a while.
However, the club did reverse itself today, announcing that the CONCACAF game will be played at Qwest Field, not the previously announced Starfire Sports Complex. No decision yet if that game will be the third extra game of the season ticket plan -- along with the previously announced Boca and Celtic friendlies -- however, that is a possibility.
As for Sounders reaction, Kasey Keller didn't want to look beyond San Jose this weekend, Tyrone Marshall said younger players lacking international experience might be taken aback by the (poor) facilities and (great) supporter passion in Central America.
And Schmid offered up these more-serious quotes:
On the draw) “We are paired with a Central American team which should be a team from El Salvador and we should know before the eighth of June. But obviously the only condition right now is because El Salvador has the issue going on with FIFA right now. That’s the only thing that might change that. We have a pretty good idea that it’s one of three El Salvadorian teams.”
On balancing MLS, Champions League and U.S. Open Cup this summer) “We want to win everything because we are greedy and selfish. A lot of clubs are like that, I think. Obviously it’s always a week to week thing. We have to see how certain people are, how they responded. I think we have some good depth. I think our depth as guys get healthy will only get better and then we just have to make the right decisions at the right time. Obviously MLS Cup, winning your country’s championship, I think is always the most important goal. Champions League is certainly a very important goal, and defending the Open Cup is something we would like to do as well. So we are going to try and do the triple if we can, but that’s a lot of work for us. We just have to go week to week.”