We've known that the Seattle Sounders would be playing in the upcoming edition of the FIFA Club World Cup, but now we know most of the details of that tournament.
During this months World Cup, FIFA announced the details about their other main "World Cup", the Club World Cup. Seattle will be one of seven teams participating in the event, which will take place in February 2023.
The exact dates of the competition are February 1-11, 2023 and it will take place in Morocco (who just finished off a fantastic deep run in the World Cup).
The Sounders will be joined by in the tournament by:
*Real Madrid (Spain/UEFA)=UEFA Champions League Winners
*Flamengo (Brazil/CONMEBOL)=Copa Libertadores Winners
*Wydad Casablanca (Morocco/CAF)=CAF Champions League Winners and Host Nation
*Al Ahly (Egypt/CAF)=CAF Champions League Runner-up
*Auckland City (New Zealand/OFC)=OFC Champions League Winner
*Still to be determined AFC Champions League Winner
Al Ahly qualifies as the CAF Runner-up, since Wydad Casablanca automatically qualifies as the Morocco domestic league champions (even though Wydad also won the CAF Champions League).
Seattle will enter the competition in the second round (a de facto quarterfinal match). Auckland City will play Wydad Casablanca in the first round.
The winner of that match will then advance to the second round and will be joined by Seattle, Al Ahly, and the AFC Champion.
The winners of those two matches will advance to the third round/semifinals where they will join Real Madrid and Flamengo (the advancing teams will take on the two new teams, so one of the teams coming from the second round will take on Real Madrid and the other will take on Flamengo).
The winners of those two matches will play in the FIFA Club World Cup Final.
Only teams from UEFA and CONMEBOL have won the competition before. That means that if Seattle makes the run to win it, then thy would be the first CONCACAF team to do so.
Not only that, but with Seattle being the first MLS team to win the CONCACAF Champions League, they will also be the first MLS team to participate in the Club World Cup. This presents a great opportunity for Seattle in this tournament. This can serve as a showcase both for the club and for the league on the international level. It's not out of the realm of possibility to say that this will be some of the most important International matches for a MLS team in history.
Seattle will have some advantages (for MLS) and disadvantages in the tournament itself. The main disadvantage in the tournament is that Seattle will be out of match fitness and rhythm (it will be the club's first matches since their 2022 MLS season ended in October). Meanwhile, clubs like Real Madrid will be right in the middle of their club seasons.
The advantage for Seattle is that they will have potentially a couple of matches under their belt before they head into the MLS season and try to make it back to the MLS Cup Playoffs. Also, unlike the CONCACAF Champions League, the Club World Cup will be wrapped up before MLS play begins. Seattle will get some matches under their belts, be done with the tournament, and then head into the MLS season in late February/early March.
This will also be the first opportunity for fans to see the Sounders in competitive action in 2023.