It's not exactly coming home, but going back to Seattle will clearly be a surreal experience for Tyrone Mears.
Between 2015 and 2016, the Englishman appeared in 65 matches for the Seattle Sounders. He helped the club win their first MLS Cup last year after the team rebounded from a terrible first half of the season.
And on Friday, Mears will be facing his former teammates for the first time since he joined Atlanta United (10 pm ET | FS1 in US, TSN2 in Canada). While the focus is on helping Atlanta United earn three points and a third consecutive win, he knows Friday will be a unique experience for him.
“Yeah it’ll be strange. Obviously, I spent two good seasons there. Last season was very successful. It’s going to be strange but nice in a way to see the old faces and people behind the scenes,” Mears said.
“That’s one thing I can say about Seattle it was a great bunch of guys and certainly on the field, very good players, but off the field, really nice. The whole club was like that.”
Fond memories aren’t the only thing Mears took from his time in Seattle. Friday’s match will be a good litmus test to see where the Atlanta stand in MLS so far in their inaugural season. Mears’ MLS experience and time with Seattle provides a wealth of knowledge for teammates unfamiliar with the imposing CenturyLink Field environment and the Sounders’ style of play.
“Every game they’re well prepared. Obviously, I know the players very well,” Mears said.
Mears credited part of Seattle’s success last year to having a solid backline. Only three games in, he already sees Atlanta’s defense as a major factor for their early success.
“Yeah, it’s massive, certainly in this league. I think if you have a solid backline anything is possible. I think we proved that last season in Seattle. It’s important.”
“The work we’ve been doing in the international break, a lot of it has been focused on Seattle. We’ll be ready for them and then it’s obviously about us carrying out the plan that Tata [Martino] sets out,” Mears said. “We’re really concentrating on getting a good result.”