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Sounders prep for preseason trips to Tucson, Charleston

The Sounders are off to prepare for the start of the 2014 MLS season with trips to Tucson, Arizona and Charleston, South Carolina.

Every year, Sounders FC seeks warm climates and competitive matches during training camp to help the team prepare for the coming season. This year is no different, as the team will leave the chilly weather in Seattle in favor of sunny retreats in Tucson, Arizona, and Charleston, South Carolina.

Once they get there the goals are plenty, as the team looks to build fitness, gel as a cohesive group, get to know the many new faces in camp and perhaps find a player that can make a difference for the club heading into the 2014 season.

Sounders FC opens training camp at the club’s Starfire Sports complex on Saturday before departing for the Grand Canyon State on January 29. There the team will train at Kino Sports Complex for 12 days, playing two matches before returning to Seattle for a brief stint. This will be the second year the Sounders visit Tucson after winning the Desert Diamond Cup last year.

This year will feature two friendly matches. The first preseason match will be February 5 against the San Jose Earthquakes, followed by a February 8 contest with the Portland Timbers.

After a few days in Seattle, the team will head back to the road on February 19, bound for South Carolina. In the Palmetto State, Seattle will play three matches as it gears up for the 2014 season with the Carolina Challenge Cup.

In Charleston, Sounders FC will train at the Charleston Battery Training Complex and meet the Battery on February 22, the Houston Dynamo on February 26 and D.C. United on March 1 at Blackbaud Stadium, acting as a homecoming for Osvaldo Alonso, Lamar Neagle and Alex Caskey, who each have played for the Battery during their careers.

The team returns to Seattle finally on March 2 to conclude training camp before starting the sixth MLS season on March 8 at CenturyLink Field against the defending MLS Cup champions, Sporting Kansas City.

In Seattle’s history, the team has spent preseason in Ventura, California; Argentina; Casa Grande, Arizona; La Manga, Spain and Bradenton, Florida, with additional friendlies in Portland, Oregon and Cancun, Mexico.