MATCH: Seattle Sounders FC (1-0 overall, 0-0 MLS, 1-0 CCL) at Club Santos Laguna (Mexican Premier League) TYPE: CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal. WHEN: Wednesday, 5 p.m., Estadio Nuevo Corona, Torreon, Mexico. MEETING: 2nd (Sounders lead 1-0). TV: Fox Soccer (401 on Comcast). RADIO: 97.3 KIRO FM.
Seattle Sounders FC continues its aggregate-goal CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal with Santos Laguna Wednesday, needing only a tie to advance to the tournament’s semifinal round. The Sounders, who hold a one-goal edge after defeating Santos 2-1 last week at CenturyLink Field, are calling this match “the greatest opportunity in club history.”
Before this year, only one MLS club (Real Salt Lake) advanced to the semifinals of the Champions League. Seattle is looking to become the second to reach the semifinal round, where they would meet fellow MLS sides L.A. Galaxy or Toronto FC.
We know that they have to beat us and I can tell you that nobody is scared to go down there,” said Brad Evans. “We have done well anywhere we played away from home last year.
The second half of the CONCACAF quarterfinal will be played Estadio Nuevo Corona, a $100 million facility in which Santos rarely loses. The Mexican side is 4-0 in home CONCACAF Champion League matches and 4-0-2 there in Mexican Premier League competition. Since playing in Seattle, Santos recorded a 3-1 win over Puebla in the Mexican Clausura.
In five home matches in the 2010-11 CCL, Santos won four times and scored at least five goals in three of them.
While Seattle leads in goals 2-1, road goals carry added weight and serve as the primary tiebreaker. If, for example, Santos defeats the Sounders 1-0, the teams would be even in aggregate goals, but Santos would win the quarterfinal for having scored more road goals (1) than the Sounders (0). In the event of a tie at the end of regulation, the teams will play an overtime period followed, if necessary, by penalty shootout.
Bottom line: Seattle needs a victory, a tie or a one-goal loss with at least two goals scored to advance to the semifinals.
The CONCACAF final will be held in mid-to-late April. The winner qualifies to play in the prestigious FIFA Club World Cup, thus “the greatest opportunity in club history.”
Seattle has twice traveled to Mexico for Champions League contests, both times visiting CF Monterrey in the group stage. One of the biggest wins in club history came Aug. 23, 2011, when Seattle downed Monterrey, 1-0, at Estadio Tecnologico. In the previous trip to Mexico (Sept. 23, 2010), Seattle lost, 3-2, to Monterrey after building a 2-nil lead.
SERIES: The Sounders and Santos met for the first time last week.
LAST MATCH (Sounders): David Estrada scored the first goal of his professional career, in the 12th minute, and Brad Evans notched the deciding goal in the 63rd, giving the Sounders a 2-1 victory over Santos Laguna in front of 23,433. Theyre a very good team. They were obviously in midseason form, so I was really proud of what we did, Sounders FC head coach Sigi Schmid said. Being able to score right after they equalized was certainly important to us and to walk away with a victory was important because it means next week they have to beat us. A tie isnt going to be good enough and we always feel very good about going on the road.”
SOUNDERS STATS/NOTES: Midfielders Alvaro Fernandez and Mauro Rosales have received their U.S. green cards, granting them permanent resident status in the U.S. effective immediately. As residents, Fernandez (Uruguay) and Rosales (Argentina) will no longer occupy International Player slots on Seattles roster . . . Defender Andrew Duran has undergone successful right knee surgery to repair a medial meniscus tear . . . With an assist against Santos last week, Fredy Montero has three goals and three assists in the 2011-2012 CONCACAF Champions League, including three goals and one assist in his last five CCL games . . . Seattle is unbeaten in its last three Champions League away matches, a stretch that includes a historic 1-0 win at Monterrey, a 2-1 win at Costa Rica’s Herediano, and a 2-2 draw at Guatemala’s Comunicaciones, clinching advancement to the quarters for Seattle . . . In an attempt to keep his players fresh, Schmid broke the flight into two legs. The Sounders flew to Dallas Monday, overnighted, then flew to Torreon (central Mexico) Tuesday . . .Temperature at match time is expected to be 90 degrees . . . Sounders were an MLS-best 9-3-5 in away matches last season.
SANTOS STATS/NOTES: Santos’ lone goal in the first half of the quarterfinal came from Herculez Gomez, a former A-League player who spent time with the Sounders in 2003 . . . Santos Laguna represents the urban area of Comarca Laguneras (ninth largest metropolitan area in Mexico, between two states, Coahuila and Durango), made up of Torreón, Gomez Palacio, and Lerdo . . . Santos Laguna plays in the Primera División . . . Founded in 1982, Santos reached Mexico’s top tier in 1988-89 and has won three league championships, first in the Invierno 1996 tournament, second in the Verano 2001 tournament, and most recently in the Clausura 2008 tournament . . . Santos finished fourth in the 2011 Apertura, the first championship of the Mexican season (July 22-Nov. 6) . . . Santos is known familiarly as White and Green and Los Guerreros, or “The Warriors.” . . In 2011, Santos Laguna formed a partnership with Celtic (Scottish Premier League), in which the clubs agreed to transfer knowledge on coaching, players, football academies and perhaps eventually swap first-team players.
ROSTER ADDS: Sounders FC signed midfielder Andy Rose and Alex Caskey has transferred to Seattle from the USL Charleston Battery. Caskey, 23, was selected by Seattle in the third round (47th overall) of the 2011 MLS SuperDraft. He played for Charleston during the 2011 season, scoring one goal with one assist in 15 starts. Rose, 22, was selected by Seattle in the 2012 MLS supplemental draft Jan. 17 following a trade with Real Salt Lake. The English midfielder was twice named All-Pac-12 First Team and team captain at UCLA.
COACHES: Sigi Schmid became first head coach of Seattle Sounders FC Dec. 16, 2008, and is in his fourth year. Born in Tübingen, Germany, Schmid relocated with his family to the U.S. in 1956, and to Torrance, CA., in 1962. He was a four-year starter at UCLA (1972-75) and graduated with a B.S. degree in economics in 1976.
Schmid later earned a M.A. in business administration from the Southern California. A certified public accountant, Schmid coached the Los Angeles Galaxy from 1999 through 2004, winning four major competitions: 2002 MLS Cup, 2002 MLS Supporters Shield, 2001 U.S. Open Cup and the 2001 CONCACAF Champions Cup. He coached the Columbus Crew from 2006-08, winning the MLS Cup in his final season.
In 2009, under Schmid’s direction, the Sounders became the first expansion team to reach the MLS playoffs since the 1998 Chicago Fire. The Sounders also won the U.S. Open Cup in Schmid’s first season. They added their second and third U.S. Open Cup titles in 2010 and 2011.
Benjamin Galindo: A former footballer for the Mexican national team and a participant in the 1994 World Cup, Galindo has managed Chivas (2004-05), Santos Laguna (2006), Cruz Azul (Au Tec), Cruz Azul (2008-09) and Atlas (2010-11).
COMING UP: The Sounders will return to Seattle to launch their MLS season against Toronto FC Saturday at 7 p.m.
Seattle Sounders FC 2012 Schedule
(1-0 overall, 0-0 MLS, 1-0 CCL)
|4/7||^at DC United||4:30||KING||—||—||—|
|5/9||^at FC Dallas||5:30||KING||—||—||—|
|6/30||^vs. New England||4:30||KING||—||—||—|
|7/15||^at New York||1:00||ESPN||—||—||—|
|8/5||^vs. LA Galaxy||7:00||ESPN2||—||—||—|
|8/11||^at San Jose||7:30||KING||—||—||—|
|9/2||^at FC Dallas||4:00||KING||—||—||—|
|10/21||^vs. FC Dallas||6:00||ESPN||—||—||—|
|10/28||^at LA Galaxy||6:00||ESPN||—||—||—|
*=CONCACAF; ^=Major League Soccer