It may be balmy out there, but that won’t stop numerous Seattle residents from pulling out scarves tonight. The Sounders’ 2020 season kicks off at 7pm (Fox Sports 2) against host C.D. Olimpia of Honduras in the CONCACAF Champions League tournament, which, as the ridiculous name attempts to imply, features the best squads from North America, Central America, and the Caribbean. The bracket’s winner will advance to the FIFA Club World Cup to face top teams from Asia, Africa, Europe, and South America. That would be quite a feat: No MLS franchise has won the CONCACAF title since it abandoned the Champions Cup format more than a decade ago.
It won’t be the clubs’ first CONCACAF matchup. The Sounders topped Olimpia in a classic back in 2015. The roster has turned over quite a bit since then, though. One of the new faces is Miguel Ibarra, the former Minnesota United midfielder who signed with the Sounders today. A different midfielder—Nicolás Lodeiro—has been battling tendinitis and sounds questionable to play.
The Sounders’ MLC Cup title defense begins March 1 against the Chicago Fire at CenturyLink Field. Before then, the club will host Olimpia in the second leg of their Round of 16 matchup on Feb. 27. The advancing team will either play the Montreal Impact or Deportivo Saprissa in the quarterfinals this March.
No matter what happens, it’s nice to have one of Seattle's most popular professional teams back in action.