SEATTLE — One question that fans often ask me is "Which MLS team has the best training facilities?" My answer is always, "I don't know," since I've never actually made a study of it and always forget to ask people who have.
That said, judging by the reactions of Chelsea FC ahead of Wednesday night's Herbalife World Football Challenge opener against Seattle (9:30 pm ET; ESPN2), the Sounders may be the odds-on favorites.
Le centre d entrainement ici a Seattle wawwwww— Eden hazard (@hazardeden10) July 15, 2012
That's French for "Holy crap, this place is diesel!"
Praise for the Virginia Mason Athletic Center in Renton — about 25 minutes from downtown Seattle — has been a recurring theme amongst both the Chelsea players and staff.
"First I have to say is the facilities, the training ground is really unbelievable," winger Marko Marin said on Tuesday. "I never saw something like this — so big and everything."
Branislav Ivanovic had said something similar on Monday after a kick-around with members of the NFL's Seattle Seahawks (with whom the Sounders share the facility). And head coach Roberto Di Matteo was simple and to the point: "Very, very good," he offered.
So there you have it. Not a definitve answer by any means, but a neat little data point along the way.