It seems like it was just yesterday that Sounders FC was battling LA Galaxy for the Supporters’ Shield and Western Conference Championship.
Despite its 2014 season ending less than two months ago, Seattle is three days from being back in action. The club will begin preseason training at Starfire Sports before heading to Walnut, Calif., for a nine-day camp that includes friendlies with the Galaxy and UCLA. Sounders FC will conclude its preseason in Tucson, Ariz., for the Desert Diamond Cup that features matches against Sporting Kansas City and New England Revolution.
Preseason games and training sessions will be about integrating new players, regaining fitness, and determining the best lineups for the 2015 MLS season. Last year, more than half of the players at preseason camp were new to Sounders FC, and the team went on to have its best season since becoming an MLS club. This year’s training camp will be no different with three offseason acquisitions and several draftees joining Sigi Schmid’s squad.
In all, the Rave Green are scheduled to play six games during the 2015 preseason. The majority of those matches will feature noteworthy opponents.
On February 4, Sounders FC will face a UCLA team that lost in last year’s NCAA championship game on penalty kicks. Two days later the Sounders will reunite with their rival Galaxy. Although Landon Donovan has retired and Clint Dempsey will be at U.S. National Team camp that week, Seattle’s friendly with LA could be as intense as any preseason match the club has ever played.
Dempsey was on loan during most of the 2014 preseason, but that didn’t stop him from quickly developing chemistry with fellow striker Obafemi Martins. Last year both forwards broke the club record for goals in a season, and Dempsey got off to a hot start with eight goals and three assists in his first six matches.
The National Team camp concludes on February 8, when Dempsey will rejoin the Sounders for a week of training at Starfire. Their first match of the Desert Diamond Cup is February 18 against semi-professional team FC Tucson. Sporting KC, the new member of the Western Conference that they face three times in 2015, squares off with the Rave Green on February 21. Seattle then plays defending Eastern Conference champion New England on February 25 before wrapping up its preseason three days later against an opponent that has yet to be determined.
First Kick is just 44 days away. All the fun begins on Saturday at the first training session of the season, one that the Sounders hope will result in more hardware.