Sounders Insider

Seattle Sounders open MLS season at home March 6 vs. Sporting Kansas City

Sounders defender Chad Marshall, right, goes for the steal against Whitecaps midfielder Kianz Froese during a CONCACAF Champions League match in September. Cascadia rivals Seattle and Vancouver will meet Feb. 3 in the Sounders’ 2016 preseason opener.
Sounders defender Chad Marshall, right, goes for the steal against Whitecaps midfielder Kianz Froese during a CONCACAF Champions League match in September. Cascadia rivals Seattle and Vancouver will meet Feb. 3 in the Sounders’ 2016 preseason opener. The Associated Press

For the eighth time in their eight seasons in Major League Soccer, the Seattle Sounders will open at home.

This time it will be Sporting Kansas City visiting CenturyLink Field at 4 p.m. March 6 for one of 10 matches on the league’s opening day. The Seattle-SKC pairing will be broadcast nationally on Fox Sports 1.

Seattle is 5-2 in its previous opening matches.

The next week, the Sounders will travel to Utah for Real Salt Lake’s home opener, March 12 at Rio Tinto Stadium.

For now, the league is announcing only the 20 home openers. The remainder of MLS’ 21st season will be revealed Jan. 7.

Nineteen MLS teams will play their home opener within the first three weeks of the season. The exception is Toronto FC, which won’t play at home until May 7 due to renovations to BMO Field.

Sounders FC also announced its preseason training schedule.

The club will report to Starfire Sports in Tukwila on Jan. 22. After five days of local work, will fly to Arizona, where it will continue to train and begin its preseason friendlies.

There will be three in Tucson, Arizona: Feb. 3 vs. Vancouver, Feb. 6 vs. Portland, and Feb. 9 vs. Mexican club Celaya FC.

The Sounders will travel to Walnut, California, on Feb. 13 to resume training at Mount San Antonio College. There are plans for a Feb. 14 match with opponent and location to be announced. The preseason friendlies conclude Feb. 17 against the Los Angeles Galaxy at a site to be determined.

Seattle plays its first meaningful match of the new season Feb. 23 at CenturyLink Field against Club America of Mexico in the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal round.

Information on Sounders tickets is available at SoundersFC.com.

GONZALEZ GONE

Sounders FC confirmed Tuesday that longtime defender Leo Gonzalez has returned to his native Costa Rica, where he has signed a contract with CS Herediano.

Gonzalez, 35, began his professional career with Herediano in 2000. He played there eight seasons before joining the Sounders during their 2009 expansion season.

The Sounders chose not to renew Gonzalez’s contract earlier this offseason. He was not selected in the MLS Re-Entry Draft, and had indicated that he would not play with any MLS team but Seattle.

His departure leaves the club with just two players from the expansion season: Brad Evans and Osvaldo Alonso.

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