TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - The champs are back in Tucson.
The Seattle Sounders have arrived in the desert to begin training for what will be a defense of their first Major League Soccer championship.
The organization, which has led the league in attendance in each of its eight-years in existence, finally took home the top prize in December when the side beat Toronto FC in penalty kicks to win the 2016 MLS Cup.
The victory capped a worldwind year which saw the club finish fourth in the Western Conference with a .500 record while making a coaching change mid-season.
Brian Schmetzer had his interim tag as club manager made permanent shortly before Seattle's miraculous run through the post-season.
The side also has U.S. Men's National Team star Clint Dempsey back. Dempsey was shutdown last August due to an irregular heartbeat.
Schmetzer indicated on Thursday after the club's training session at UA's Mulcahy Stadium that Dempsey will be brought back slowly due to his condition.
The forward will be a game time decision for the side's square off Saturday night against the rival Portland Timbers in the second official match of the Desert Friendlies.
Kickoff is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. at Kino North Stadium.