The Sounders will host Club Tijuana of Liga MX for its annual international friendly on March 24 at 7 p.m. at CenturyLink Field, the club announced Thursday.
An academy match between the two clubs will take place prior to the friendly at CenturyLink, and the match is included in the team’s season-ticket package.
The friendly opponent is done with one eye toward the 2015-2016 CONCACAF Champions League, general manager Garth Lagerwey said in the team release and coach Sigi Schmid said in a phone interview on Thursday. Club Tijuana is currently second in the 2015 Clasura with 13 points (4-1-1), just one point behind first-place Cruz Azul.
“The Champions League is very important for us as a club,” Schmid said. “It just familiarizes our guys with that type of play.”
The earlier date on the international friendly — the Sounders hosted Tottenham Hotspur on July 19 of last year — also slot into Seattle’s first Major League Soccer bye week.
“We don’t like take a bye week that early,” Schmid said.