The stage is set.
The Seattle Sounders will take on Egyptian powerhouse Al Ahly SC in Round 2 of the 2022 FIFA Club World Cup on Saturday. Here is everything you need to know:
WHEN AND WHERE: The match will kick off at 9:00 a.m. PT in Tangier, Morocco.
WHERE TO WATCH: The match will be televised nationally on FS2, FOX Deportes and FOX 13+.
HOW AL AHLY GOT HERE: Al Ahly finished as the runner-up in the African Champions League. However, they were assigned the host nation berth due to Moroccan side Wydad Casablanca's automatic qualification from winning the African Champions League. Al Ahly defeated Oceania Champions Auckland City FC 3-0 in Round 1 of the 2022 FIFA Club World Cup, sending them through to face Sounders FC.
HOW SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC GOT HERE: The Seattle Sounders secured qualification for the FIFA Club World Cup by winning the 2022 Concacaf Champions League. Capped off by a 5-2 aggregate victory over Liga MX side Pumas UNAM, Seattle's historic run in continental play marked the first time that a MLS club had emerged as CCL Champions.
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WATCH PARTY: With the tournament taking place in Morocco, Sounders FC is hosting a local watch party at the Seattle Center Armory where fans can gather to support Sounders FC together. While admission for Saturday’s Club World Cup watch party is free, fans are encouraged to RSVP in advance here. Entry is provided on a first-come, first-served basis beginning at 8:00 a.m. PT and continuing until The Armory reaches capacity.
TOURNAMENT EXPERIENCE: While the Club World Cup might be unfamiliar territory for the Seattle Sounders, competing on the biggest stages with a trophy on the line is not. The core of Seattle's roster -- including the likes of Stefan Frei, Nicolás Lodeiro, Jordan Morris, Raúl Ruidíaz, Cristian Roldan, and several others -- have guided the Rave Green to multiple finals.
NEW ADDITIONS, FAMILIAR FACES: In addition to returning much of the roster that won CCL last season, the Sounders have added veteran forward Héber from New York City FC. The Brazilian striker is coming off a campaign in which he registered 11 goals in just under 1,500 minutes across all competitions. Further bolstering the squad is the return of João Paulo, who sustained an ACL injury in the second leg of the CCL Final last year. While it is unclear how much JP will be able to contribute during this tournament, he did feature for 45 minutes in the club's tuneup match against Hammarby IF.
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HEAVYWEIGHT MATCHUP: Seattle's opponents, Al Ahly SC, are historically one of the most successful clubs in African soccer. Founded in 1907, the Cairo powerhouse have won over 100 trophies, including 42 Egyptian Premier League titles and 10 African Champions League titles.
STRONG FORM: Al Ahly's soccer pedigree was on full display in their 3-0 win over Auckland City FC on Wednesday. Hussein El Shahat grabbed a goal on the verge of halftime, while Mohamed Sherif and Percy Tau each scored after the break for a relatively comfortable victory.
RARE OPPORTUNITY: The winner of Saturday's matchup will take on Real Madrid with a spot in the FIFA Club World Cup final on the line. One of the biggest sporting institutions on the planet, going toe-to-toe with the Spanish giants in an official competition would make for a historic occasion.