Sounders Insider

Sounders visit Mexico in closed game at Atlante

The Sounders will meet Atlante FC in Cancun this evening in a closed friendly that will serve as preparation for their CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal series against Santos.

Here's a preview from the club:

A week of fun in the Florida sun concluded on Monday as Seattle Sounders FC began the transition to the final phase of preseason preparations. With just two weeks until the showdown with Santos Laguna in the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals on March 7, the Rave Green will travel to Cancun, Mexico to meet Atlante FC on Wednesday night.

Seattle spent 10 days in the Sunshine State, continuing to build fitness and develop style of play with four training games. Sounders FC (3-0-2) remains unbeaten in preseason play as they rattled off three straight wins after earning an early draw in Florida.

The club also made noise off the field late last week with the acquisition of U.S. international Eddie Johnson. The 27-year-old forward joined Sounders FC in Florida on Saturday and will travel with the team to Mexico.

Seattle wraps up preseason travel on Thursday with a late night flight back to the Pacific Northwest, where they will stay for nearly three weeks until they travel to Torreon, Mexico, for the away leg of the CCL quarterfinals on March 14.

Seattle will host Mexico's Jaguares de Chiapas in the annual Community Shield match on Wednesday, February 29 on the Xbox Pitch at CenturyLink Field. There is no charge for admission, but the Sounders are accepting donations to benefit the club's community partners.

Here's some of what coach Sigi Schmid had to say about the match:

On his goals: "One is the grass surfaces always are a little different in Mexico, so it gets us an opportunity to play on the type of fields that Mexican fields are – which is a little bit of a different surface. It gets us to play obviously against an opponent that plays a different style than an MLS opponent that we’ve been seeing so far. It also gets us into the rhythm of traveling on a Tuesday and playing a game on a Wednesday. So from all those aspects it’s a good little dry run for going into Santos, because we do have some new players."

On why it is a closed game: "Generally those teams, they don’t draw for games like this anyway, so it’s not like there’s going to be 10-15,000 people in the stadium even if it’s open. What I’ve found oftentimes in taking teams to Mexico over the years in the past, when you have the games on their training grounds and it’s a little bit open you’re not quite sure who you’ve going to play. I think it increases the likelihood we’re going to be playing their legitimate reserves instead of playing a lot of their youth players. And having it being a closed-door game it’s better for them in terms of what they want to do with their team and I think it gives us a better opportunity to play a good opponent."