OPPONENT: Club America (Feb. 23: home; March 2: away).
CHALLENGE: The Sounders are working on a new 4-3-3 formation that will take time for the players to learn. On Tuesday night, Seattle played Mexican second division club Celaya in Tucson and, according to Coach Sigi Schmid, looked "horrible" for the first 20-25 minutes. The new formation will put a lot of pressure on veteran Osvaldo Alonso, who faces competition from second-year pro Cristian Roldan.
NEWCOMERS: Jordan Morris joined the Sounders at the beginning of the week after splitting time in January with Werder Bremen in Turkey and the national team in training in Carson. Young Trinidadian Joevin Jones, acquired from Chicago, is an upgrade at left back.
PROBABLE LINEUP: Frei; Mears, Scott, Marshall, J.Jones; Friberg, Alonso, Ivanschitz; Valdez, Martins, Dempsey.
PRESEASON SCHEDULE: Feb. 14: TBD; Feb. 17: at LA Galaxy.
Real Salt Lake
OPPONENT: Tigres (Feb. 24: away; March 2: home).
CHALLENGE: Juan Manuel Martinez, acquired in the middle of the 2015 season, Yura Movsisyan, back after six seasons in Europe, and Joao Plata could be one of the most potent attacks in MLS, but it will take time for them to click. Of bigger concern for the series against Tigres is the uncertainty in the backline, where RSL is still looking for a center back to replace Chris Schuler. It thought it had a replacement but a deal fell through at the last minute. It has Ghanaian Jerry Akaminko in camp for a tryout.
NEWCOMERS: Nigerian Sunny Obayan should alleviate some of the pressure on Kyle Beckerman to shoulder the defensive duties in midfield, while Movsisyan is a proven goal scorer up front.
PROBABLE LINEUP: Rimando; Beltran, Olave, Maund, Phillips, Beckerman, Obayan, Morales, Martinez, Movsisyan, Plata.
PRESEASON SCHEDULE: Feb. 14: Seongnam FC (South Korea), Feb. 17: New England Revolution (Desert Diamond Cup), Feb. 20: Columbus Crew SC (Desert Diamond Cup)
OPPONENT: Queretaro (Feb. 23: away; March 1: home).
CHALLENGE: The signing of 21-year-old Argentine playmaker Luciano Acosta is imminent. He's a big catch for United, but Coach Ben Olsen will have less than two weeks to get him up to speed. With Bill Hamid sidelined with a knee injury, Olsen will have to go with Andrew Dykstra in goal. He does have CCL experience, having started all four games in the group stage.
NEWCOMERS: Besides Acosta, United could start three other newcomers in midfield, all MLS veterans: Marcelo Sarvas (picked up from Colorado), Lamar Neagle (Seattle) and Patrick Nyarko (Chicago).
PROBABLE LINEUP: Dykstra; Franklin, Boswell, Birnbaum, Kemp; Sarvas, DeLeon, Acosta, Neagle, Nyarko; Espindola.
PRESEASON SCHEDULE: Feb. 13: at Tampa Bay Rowdies, Feb. 17:, Philadelphia Union (Rowdies Suncoast Invitational), Feb. 20: Montreal Impact (Rowdies Suncoast Invitational).