MATCH: Caledonia AIA (TTT Pro League) at Seattle Sounders FC (9-5-7, 34 points, MLS, 0-0 CCL). TYPE: CONCACAF Champions League. WHEN: Thursday, 7 p.m., CenturyLink Field. MEETING: 1st. TV: FOX Soccer. RADIO: 97.3 KIRO FM
The Sounders launch a stretch of three games across three competitions in a six-day span Thursday when they host their first CONCACAF Champions League group-stage match of 2012-13 against Trinidad’s Caledonia AIA. Seattle then entertains the Los Angeles Galaxy in a MLS contestat 6 p.m. Sunday before traveling to Sporting Kansas City for the championship game of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Aug. 8.
Eliminated from 2011-12 CONCACAF Champions League play in March by Santos Laguna, the Sounders and Caledonia are joined in the three-team Group Four by DC Marathon of Honduras. The Sounders travel to Malabar, Trinidad, for a rematch with Caledonia Aug. 30, then play Honduras twice, Sept. 19 in Honduras and Oct. 24 at CenturyLink Field.
2012 Sounders CONCACAF Schedule
- Thursday, Aug. 2: Caledonia AIA (Trinidad) at Sounders, 7 p.m.
- Thursday, Aug. 30: Sounders at Caledonia AIA, 5 p.m.
- Wednesday, Sept. 19: Sounders at CD Marathon (Honduras), 7 p.m.
- Wednesday, Oct. 24: CD Marathon at Sounders, 7 p.m.
The winner of the three-team group will advance to the quarterfinals in March 2013.
For the fifth time in Sounders history,the club will play three matches across three competitions in one week. In the previous four, Seattle has gone 10-1-1, outscoring foes 26 to 12.
The Sounders recorded three straight wins over Monterrey (CCL group stage), Columbus (MLS) and Dallas (Open Cup semifinal) from Aug. 23-30, 2011. Later that season, Seattle advanced to the CCL quarterfinals with a draw at Communicaciones, defeated New England in MLS and then won its third Open Cup championship, defeating Chicago.
In 2010, Seattle beat Marathòn in the CCL group stage, won 3-2 over Toronto and defeated Columbus in the Open Cup final. Seattle also defeated the Chicago Fire in MLS play and advanced past Chivas USA in the Open Cup semifinals after dropping a CCL group stage match to Monterrey later in 2010.
The Sounders, L.A. Galaxy and Toronto FC are the only other MLS teams to play in the tournament in each of the past three years.
The Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football is one of six continental confederations of FIFA. CONCACAF serves as the governing body of soccer/football in this part of the world. It is composed of 40 national associations, from Canada in the north to Guyana, Surinam and French Guyana in the south.
The Sounders have played 18 CCL games, going 7-9-2 with goal differential of 23 goals scored vs. 27 goals allowed. Fredy Montero leads Seattle with four goals and five assists in CCL play. He is one goal away from tying Mike Fucito’s mark of five goals. Montero is also the club’s all-time leader with 1,164 minutes played in the international tournament.
The winner of the CONCACAF tournament becomes eligible to play in the FIFA Club World Cup. Monterrey is the defending CCL champion, having defeated Santos Laguna 3-2 on aggregate goals in the 2011-12 tournament.
Caledonia is making its first appearance in the CCL after winning the CFU Club Championship for the first time. The Malabar-based club edged another Trinidadian club, W Connection, on penalty kicks, 4-3, after tying 1-1 June 21. It marked the first Caribbean championship in the club’s 32-year history.
Sounders coach Sigi Schmid admist to not knowing much about the opponent.
Theyre probably (the CCL opponent) that were going into the most blind because they are not in their season yet, Schmid said. They are in their preseason; they havent really played games. Theyve changed their roster, so theyve got different personnel than they had. Weve seen certain clips of past games that theyve played, but a lot of those are with players that arent on the team right now. So were in the midst of gathering information.
Caledonia captured three of five domestic titles last year, winning the First Citizens Cup, FA Trophy and the Lucozade Sport Goal Shield. The club won six of its last eight league games and finished third in the 2011-12 TT Pro League with 38 points (12-7-2), just two points behind league champion W Connection.
Forward Jamal Gay, who scored seven goals in league play last season, will lead the attack against the Sounders, but Caledonia is without two of its main scorers from 2011-12. Midfielder Ataulla Guerra (seven goals) is recovering from a knee injury. Leading scorer Devorn Jorsling (eight goals) recently returned to Defence Force, a club he played with from 2002-10.
PROBABLE LINEUP (Seattle): Goalkeeper — Michael Gspurning; Defenders — Leo Gonzalez, Patrick Ianni, Jeff Parke, Adam Johansson; Midfielders — Alex Caskey, Osvaldo Alonso, Mauro Rosales, Brad Evans; Forwards — Eddie Johnson, Fredy Montero.
- Caledonia AIA is a Trinidad and Tobago team playing at the top level in the TT Pro League. Its home city is Malabar.
- Caledonia plays home matches at Hasley Crawford Stadium, but CCL matches will be held at Manny Ramjohn Stadium, which has a seating capacity of 10,000.
- The club was founded in 1979. In 2005 Caledonia AIA merged with Arima/Morvant Fire and was renamed Caledonia AIA Fire. In 2006 the club parted ways with the Fire and took up a new name again, Neal and Massy Caledonia AIA.
- In 2008, Caledonia won the Trinidad and Tobago Cup.
SOUNDERS STATS / NOTES
- Seattle is 7-9-2 all-time in Champions League play, including 5-4-0 at CenturyLink Field.
- Sounders have sold out 60 consecutive MLS home matches.
- Eddie Johnson’s goal in the second minute against Colorado set a record for earliest goal in club history. The record was four minutes (three times; last: Lamar Neagle, Aug. 11, 2007).
- Johnson leads the Sounders with nine goals and ranks sixth in the MLS Golden Boot race.
- Johnson has scored five goals with one assist in his past six league outings and six in his past eight across all competitions. Johnson is the second-fastest player (18 games) in club history to hit the nine-goal mark (Fredy Montero, 15 games in 2009).
- Seattle’s average home attendance is 39,537, 15,000 more than No. 2 Montreal (24,052) and an increase of more than 1,000 over Seattle’s 2011 average (38,498).
- Seattle has a five-game (2-0-3) MLS unbeaten streak, and is 4-0-3 over its past seven.
- Seattle’s newest designated player, Christian Tiffert of Germany, added to the club last Friday, will join the roster pending receipt of his P-1 visa. He will occupy one of three designated players slots following the trade of Alvaro Fernandez. Another new acquisition, Mario Martinez of Honduras, is with his national team in the Olympics.
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 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.
Jamaal Shabazz: Caledonia’s coach is also guiding the Guyanese national team in the third round of qualifying for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
COMING UP: The Sounders host the Los Angeles Galaxy at 6 p.m. and then travel to Sporting Kansas City for a match Aug. 8.
Seattle Sounders FC 2012 Schedule / Results
(9-5-7, 34 points, MLS; 1-1 CCL; 4-0 U.S. Open Cup)
|4/7||^at DC United||4:30||KING||D||0-0||2-1-1|
|5/9||^at FC Dallas||5:30||KONG||W||2-0||7-1-1|
|6/26||&at San Jose||7:30||Webcast||W||1-0||3-0-0|
|6/30||^at New England||4:30||KONG||D||2-2||7-5-5|
|7/15||^at New York||1:00||ESPN||D||2-2||8-5-7|
|8/5||^vs. LA Galaxy||6:00||ESPN2||—||—||—|
|8/8||&at Sport KC||6:00||TBD||—||—||—|
|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; #=International friendly; &=U.S. Open Cup