MLS Soccer

Sounders 2 will open at home against champions

Seattle Sounders FC 2 will get a quick introduction to USL Pro, playing their inaugural game against league champion Sacramento.

And area soccer fans will get a quick introduction to their new team, as the first-year squad will play its first three games at home — Starfire Sports Stadium in Tukwila. The opener is at 7:30 p.m. March 21 against the Sacramento Republic. That’s an off day for parent club Seattle Sounders FC of Major League Soccer.

The team’s homestand continues against Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2 at 4 p.m. March 29 and Portland Timbers 2 at 7:30 p.m. April 11. Then S2 will hit the road for the first time April 16 at Tulsa.

“I can’t think of a better way to start the season off than against the defending champion,” said S2 coach Ezra Hendrickson, who spent the past six seasons as an assistant coach with the MLS Sounders. “It lets you know where you stand in the league right off the bat.”

USL Pro on Monday released its full 2015 schedule, with each of the 24 teams playing 28 games. The regular season runs through September. The top six finishers in the Eastern and Western conferences will advance to the postseason.

USL Pro is considered the third tier of United States Soccer. It has begun a formal development agreement with MLS, replacing the MLS Reserve League.

The rest of S2’s home schedule: May 1, Orange County Blues; May 15, OKC Energy FC; June 5, Tulsa Roughnecks; June 11, LA Galaxy II; June 25, Real Monarchs; July 12, Arizona United SC; July 24, Timbers 2; Aug. 8, Whitecaps FC 2; Aug. 19, Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC; Sept. 11, Orange County Blues; Sept. 17, Austin Aztex.

“We are very excited about how the schedule turned out,” S2 general manager Andrew Opatkiewicz said in a news release. “… A three-game homestand beginning with the defending champion — followed by the Whitecaps and Timbers to start our first season in USL Pro — provides our club with an exciting opening slate.”

The complete schedule is available at