Seattle Sounders FC will host four Cascadia Cup rivalry matches in the 2013 Major League Soccer season.
The Portland Timbers will visit CenturyLink Field on March 16 and Aug. 25, while the Vancouver Whitecaps will visit June 8 and Oct. 9. Seattle will play at Vancouver on July 6 and Portland on Oct. 13.
The March 16 match will be part of MLS Rivalry Week, when eight of the nine league matches will pair regional rivals.
Rivalry Week is a new addition to the 323-game league schedule, which was released Wednesday. This will be the longest season in league history, opening March 2 and concluding with MLS Cup on Dec. 7 or 8 at the site of the higher-ranked finalist.
The Sounders will be part of opening day, beginning their fifth regular season with a home match against Montreal.
Then the club will have a second-week bye while it plays its CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal series: March 6 at Tigres UANL in Monterrey, Mexico, followed by the second leg on March 12 at CenturyLink Field.
Other highlights of the schedule:
• All Sounders games will be televised live. Thirteen will be shown nationally, including all three with the Timbers.
• Fourteen of Seattle’s 17 home matches will be played at night. Nine are on Saturday, five on Sunday, two on Wednesday and one on Friday. Leaguewide, about 90 percent of MLS games will take place on weekends or holidays.
• The Sounders will travel an estimated 39,420 miles, approximately 1,800 fewer than last season.
• Seattle will play Western Conference opponents three times each. Portland, Vancouver, Chivas USA and Dallas will visit Seattle twice, while San Jose, Colorado, Salt Lake and Los Angeles will visit once. The Sounders will play one game against each Eastern club. Montreal, New England, D.C. United, Chicago and New York will visit CenturyLink, while the club will travel to Philadelphia, Kansas City, Toronto, Houston and Columbus.
The Sounders will begin training Jan. 21. In early February their preseason work will move to Tucson, Ariz., where they will meet Portland on Feb. 5 and then compete in the Desert Diamond Cup from Feb. 13-23.blog.thenewstribune.com/soccer