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Community and Cohesion

The Sounders are focused in their final tune-up for their Champions League showdown with Santos Laguna.

On Wednesday night, the Sounders FC will take on Jaguares de Chiapas in the club’s annual Community Shield match at CenturyLink Field.  This year’s match will have two primary focuses – community and cohesion.

Admission to the match is free to the public, though the club will be accepting donations at the gate, with proceeds benefiting the club’s five community partners - America SCORES Seattle, Boys and Girls Clubs of King County and Bellevue, Special Olympics Washington, Washington Global Health and Washington Youth Soccer.

On the field, the team will be looking to put the final touches on their play in their last tune-up before facing Santos Laguna in the quarterfinals of the CONCACAF Champions League on March 7 at CenturyLink Field.

“The most important thing for us right now is preparation for the game against Santos.  It’s not going to be a situation where we’re going to try and get guys in for minutes in this game to try and make a decision on whether they’re going to make the roster or not,” Sounders FC head coach Sigi Schmid said.  “Our preparation is going to be to get cohesion amongst our first group and to put guys on the field that we think are very likely to be a part of the 18-man squad that suits up for the game against Santos.”

The match on Wednesday will cap a preseason that has seen them go unbeaten at 4-0-2.  It will also mark the first time they have played in front of their home fans since a 2-0 win over Real Salt Lake in the second leg of their Western Conference semifinal series, which ended with a 3-2 aggregate victory for RSL.

“It’s always good to get back on the home pitch and get the final preparations and the rust out and just give it a go,” defender Jeff Parke said.  “The nerves are coming out.  Guys are getting anxious.  We want to get out there and play.”

In Jaguares, they meet a club that finished fifth in the 2011 Apertura at 7-5-5, falling to Santos Laguna in the quarterfinals of the tournament.  They currently sit 12th in the Clasura at 3-5-0 and they will be playing without their top forward and captain, Jackson Martinez, who is on the roster for Colombia in their friendly against Mexico.

Seattle’s focus, though, will be on their side of the ball and less on the team they are facing.

“We have to focus on ourselves and get ourselves ready for the most important game of the season,” Parke said.  “We have a strong group again this year.  It’s going to be interesting.”

Kickoff is slated for 7 pm.  Seating will be general admission on the east side of the lower bowl, with the Emerald City Supporters taking their normal position in the south end of the stadium.  In addition to the Community Shield match, the club will also be donating funds from the annual Kickoff Luncheon to their community partners.  This year’s event will be Friday, March 9, at CenturyLink Field.  More information is available at