The Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) Friday announced the group stage schedule for the 2012-13 CONCACAF Champions League. The Sounders, slotted into Group 4, play their first match Aug. 2 against Caledonia (Trinidad).
Group 4 also includes CD Marathon of Honduras. Seattle’s 2012 schedule:
Two-time defending champion Monterrey (Mexico) begins play by hosting Chorrillo FC (Panama) July 31. Later that night, CS Herediano plays 2010-11 runner-up Real Salt Lake (USA).
Isidro Metapan (El Salvador), the Puerto Rico Islanders and Olimpia (Honduras) are the only teams to qualify for all five editions of the Champions League.
Metapan and the Islanders will meet Aug. 1 in a rematch of last year’s preliminary-round series, which the Salvadoran club captured on the away-goals rule after a 3-3 aggregate draw.
Olimpia, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary, opens Aug. 2 at home against CD FAS (El Salvador) in a Central American pairing. Newly crowned Caribbean champion Caledonia AIA will complete the first week of play with a match at Seattle.
Week 2 will begin Aug. 21 with a match between 2011-12 runner-up Santos Laguna (Mexico) and traveling CD Aguila (El Salvador), which is making its first Champions League appearance this year.
Santos Laguna eliminated Seattle from the 2011-12 Champions League.
Six weeks of group stage playcons ends Oct. 25. Only the eight group winners will advance to the quarterfinals, which begin March 5.
On the personnel front, the Sounders signed defender Daniel Steres, 21, whom the club selected in the 2012 MLS waiver draft June 6.
By “mutual agreement,” according to the club, the Sounders made room by waiving midfielder Christian Sivebaek, 24, who made three appearances, including one start. He played just 88 MLS minutes, none since March. On his Twitter account this week he lamented about a lack of playing time, then wrote later that he was returning to his native Denmark.