Sounders FC will face CD Metapán of El Salvador in the Preliminary Round of the 2010-11 CONCACAF Champions League. It was determined last week that the first leg would be played in Seattle between July 27-29. The second leg will be played in Metapán between Aug. 3-5.
Sounders FC will play its home match on the Xbox Pitch at Qwest Field. Competition dates and ticket information will be announced soon.
The winner advances to the six-round Group Stage, which begins Aug. 17-19. If Sounders FC advances to the Group Stage, it would join Monterrey (Mexico), Saprissa (Costa Rica) and either Tauro (Panama) or Marathon (Honduras) in Group C.
Seattle earned a berth in the Champions League Preliminary round by virtue of winning the 2009 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.
Metapán was confirmed as the Sounders FC opponent after FIFA lifted its suspension of El Salvador. The country had been suspended due to governmental interference in the federation affairs. Metapán clinched El Salvador’s second berth with a 3-1 win over Aguila in the Clausura final on May 23. CD FAS qualified for El Salvador’s first berth. Last year Metapán made the Group Stage where it finished fourth.
The Los Angeles Galaxy, last season’s MLS Cup finalist, will also participate in the Preliminary Round. Supporters’ Shield winner Columbus Crew and MLS Cup victor Real Salt Lake have berths in the Group Stage.
The CONCACAF Champions League is open to the leading teams from federations throughout North America, Central America and the Caribbean.
Pachuca of Mexico won the 2009-10 CONCACAF Champions League last month. It finished tied, 2-2 on aggregate, with Cruz Azul, but prevailed on away goals. Pachuca will represent CONCACAF in the FIFA Club World Cup in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates in December.
CD Metapán won the 2010 Clausura for its fourth title in the last seven seasons (there are two seasons per year in El Salvador’s Primera División). All of the championships have come under coach Edwin Portillo, who also played 10 years for Los Caleros.
Metapán was 5-2-8 in league play and then advanced over Firpo (4-3 on aggregate) and Aguila in the playoffs. Marc Blanco scored two first-half goals in the final with Aguila. Elias Montes scored the deciding goal in the 81st minute of the second leg semi at Firpo. Metapán was 3-0-5 at home and drew 2-2 with Firpo in the semifinal first leg at home, the 8,000-seat Estadio Jorge Calero Suarez.
Metapán is located in the northwest corner of El Salvador. Ten clubs comprise the Primera Division which holds two tournaments per year: Clausura from January through May and Apertura from August to December.