Sounders to open 2018 season at home vs. expansion Los Angeles FC

The Sounders announced Wednesday they will take on Los Angeles FC in their March 4 season opener at CenturyLink Field. In addition, they will open the expansion L.A. squad’s new 22,000-seat Banc of California home stadium April 29 in a nationally televised contest.

The MLS Cup finalist Sounders will play a prominent role in welcoming the league’s newest expansion team to the fold in a pair of home openers.

The Sounders announced Wednesday they will take on Los Angeles FC in their March 4 season opener at CenturyLink Field. In addition, they will open the expansion L.A. squad’s new 22,000-seat Banc of California home stadium April 29 in a nationally televised contest.

For the Sounders, beaten 2-0 by Toronto FC in the MLS Cup final, their 2 p.m. home opener will cap a busy couple of weeks of action. On Monday, it was announced the Sounders will open CONCACAF Champions League play in El Salvador against Santa Tecla FC between Feb. 20-22 in the Round of 16.

The second leg of the series will be at CenturyLink between Feb. 27 and March 1. Full dates will be finalized in coming weeks.

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This will be the fifth time the Sounders have participated in Champions League play and their first since 2014-15. They reached the semifinals in 2012-13, getting there in an upset quarterfinal win over Tigres UANL — the first time an MLS squad had ousted a Mexican side from the tournament.

This year’s tournament between the top club teams in North America, Central America and the Caribbean is down to 16 teams from 24 and being played under a new, single-elimination format. The Sounders qualified by virtue of their MLS Cup win over Toronto a year ago, and prior appearances had come via capturing the U.S. Open Cup and Supporters’ Shield.

Should the Sounders advance past Santa Tecla and into the quarterfinals,…

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