If you were already counting down the days to the first Seattle Sounders-Portland Timbers MLS match in 2011, you won't have to wait that long. The fierce rivalry, one of the oldest and most important in American soccer, will resume next month when the Sounders and Timbers face off in the Seattle's inaugural "Community Shield" match at Qwest Field on March 11.
The exhibition match is being played to raise money for local charities Boys and Girls Club of Washington State, Save the Children, Seattle SCORES and Washington Youth Soccer. Following the match the teams will sign autographs from the field.
Tickets for the match go on sale on Wednesday, with prices ranging from $10 for adults to $5 for youths age 6-17. All children younger than six can attend for free.
The Seattle Community Shield will take place two weeks before the Sounders open the MLS campaign against the expansion Philadelphia Union. The Timbers also open their campaign against a new team, taking on AC St. Louis on April 22 in the USSF Division 2 opener for both teams.
Here are some other stories to help close out your Monday:
USSF DIVISION 2 SCHEDULE ANNOUNCED
The schedule for the new USSF Division 2 League was released on Monday and will kickoff the new league on April 10 in Miami, when Miami FC plays host to the Rochester Rhinos.
The 12-team league is divided into two conferences – the USL Conference and the NASL Conference. The USL Conference includes Austin Aztex, NSC Minnesota, Portland Timbers, Puerto Rico Islanders, Rochester Rhinos and Tampa Bay Rowdies. The NASL Conference will consist of Crystal Palace Baltimore, Carolina RailHawks, Miami FC, Montreal Impact, AC St. Louis and Vancouver Whitecaps.
The 12 teams were divided into three geographical pods of four teams each to determine the schedule because of travel considerations. Here are the pods:
Pod 1– Vancouver, Portland, Minnesota and St. Louis
Pod 2– Montreal, Rochester, Baltimore and Carolina
Pod 3– Austin, Tampa Bay, Miami and Puerto Rico.
Within its pod, each team will play the other three teams twice at home and twice away for a total of 12 matches. Each team will also compete against the eight teams from the other two pods twice, one home and once away for a total of 16 matches. To get to a total of 30 matches for each team (15 home and 15 away), each team was paired with a team from a different pod for a final home-and-away series.
The Division 2 League playoffs begin on October, with eight teams qualifying for the post-season. The winners of each conference will qualify for the playoffs, along with the next top six teams in the rankings.
MATHIS SIDELINED AFTER SURGERY
Los Angeles Galaxy midfielder Clint Mathis is set to be sidelined for four-to-six weeks after undergoing surgery to repair the torn meniscus in his left knee. Mathis suffered the injury last week and underwent surgery on Friday.
Acquired in a draft-day trade from Real Salt Lake, Mathis is expected to be back in time for the Galaxy's March 27 season opener against the New England Revolution.
FIRE RE-SIGNED CARR
The Chicago Fire has re-signed forward Calen Carr, the team announced on Monday. Carr has struggled with injuries throughout the first four years of his MLS career, but the speedy forward is healthy heading into this pre-season and will be called on to provide some depth up top, especially if Chicago can't come to terms with trialist Collins John.
Will you be attending the Sounders-Timbers match? Do you see Clint Mathis contributing to the Galaxy in 2010? Plan on going to USSF Division 2 matches?
Share your thoughts below.