The Seattle Sounders have announced the details of their third-annual Community Shield game, and they're a little bit more interesting than years past. Mexican Primera club Jaguares will be Seattle's opponent and admission to the game will be free. In keeping with the Community Shield's goal of raising money for charity, donation's will be accepted at the gate.The game will serve as the Sounders final tune-up prior to the home leg of their CONCACAF Champions League quarter-final against Santos Laguna.
The first Community Shield match in Seattle took place prior to the 2010 season, when the Sounders hosted the then-USL Portland Timbers. Last season's edition saw the club stick to a format more closely resembling that used in many European leagues, with the US Open Cup champion Sounders taking on the defending MLS Cup winning Colorado Rapids. The decision to bring in Jaguares is likely down to Seattle's desire to take on high-level Mexican competition in order to more adequately prepare them for Santos Laguna, arguably the best team the MLS-era Sounders will have ever faced in a competitive match. While past Community Shield games have seen Seattle play a mix of starters, reserves and youth players, the circumstances surrounding this game will presumably motivate coach Sigi Schmid to give his starters a longer run-out than one would normally expect during an exhibition game.
The Community Shield match will be the Sounders second exhibition match against a Mexican Primera club of the pre-season; the team previously confirmed that they will be playing Atlante in a closed-door training match in Cancun on February 22nd. The Jaguares game will be the last of a busy pre-season slate for the Sounders; the team has already taken on the Vancouver Whitecaps during training camp in Arizona and will head to Florida to participate in four additional exhibition games on February 13th before heading to Cancun. With cuts still needing to be made and several spots at the back-end of the roster still in contention, expect more than a few interesting developments in the coming weeks.