MATCH: Seattle Sounders FC (0-1-0, 0 points,T7, MLS West; 0-0-0 CCL) at Tigres (9-6-3, 21 points, Mexican Premier League). TYPE: CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal. WHEN: Wednesday, 7 p.m., Estadio Universitario, Monterrey, Mexico. MEETING: 1st. TV: FOX Soccer. RADIO: None.
Taken down 1-0 by the Montreal Impact in their MLS opener last Saturday night, the Sounders face a more formidable non-league adversary when they play the first of two Champions League matches against Tigres of the Mexican Premier League. In their first four seasons, the Sounders have come to understand that playing the first match of a two-legged series on the road is not an ideal proposition.
In CONCACAF and MLS playoff competitions, the Sounders have played the first match of a two-legged series on the road eight times. The Sounders, making their second trip to the CONCACAF quarterfinals after falling to Santos Laguna last year, have won three of those matches and lost five.
“We obviously haven’t done well in a two-legged series, especially when we play the first game on the road,” said Seattle head coach Sigi Schmid. “We have to turn that around. We need a more mature approach and need to play with intensity. It’s always better when you play the second game at home, so the thing for us is not to dig a hole in the first game because we’re confident we can get the result in the second game.”
The Sounders advanced to the quarterfinals of the 2012-13 CCL competition by recording an aggregate 6-3 victory over Marathon Sept. 19 (3-2) and Oct. 24, 2012 (3-1). In Tigres, the Sounders will face a dominant outfit.
“For the second year in a row, we’ll be facing the top team in Mexico,” said Schmid, referring to a two-legged series with Santos Laguna in 2012, which the Sounders lost by an aggregate of 7-3. “They are missing their top piece (Emanuel Villa, out with a broken leg), but they have so many other pieces. We obviously want to win, but if we can’t win we want to tie it, and if we can’t tie we want to lose 1-0.”
In the eight two-legged series (all competitions) in which the Sounders have played the first match on the road, they have been outscored 14-7, including 8-7 in CCL competition.
As Schmid took pains to point out before the Sounders jetted to Monterrey, Tigres will enter the match with a significant advantage: It is in the middle of its schedule while the Sounders are just getting their season legs under them.
“When we play in preliminary group stages (such as the matches with Marathon last fall), we’re in a little bit better rhythm than the Mexican clubs,” said Schmid. “Then, when you get to this stage, the Mexican clubs are in rhythm and we are at the beginning of our season.
“One of the things that may help us is that they have played so many games, and fatigue may play a factor. I don’t really know what the inner workings are of their team, but certainly their form is something that’s going to help them in this competition.”
Tigres, the 2011 Mexican Apertura champion, is making its first appearance in CCL after beating Santos Laguna to win the Apertura title, the club’s first championship in 29 years and third in its history. Tigres is led by Argentine captain Lucas Lobos, Mexican international Carlos Salcido as well as Brazilians Juninho and Edno.
The club is coached by Brazilian Ricardo Ferretti, who is in his third stint with Tigres, having previously coached the club from 2000-03 and again in the 2006 season when he led it to the InterLiga title, qualifying the club for the Copa Libertadores.
David Estrada’s availability, Schmid said, will probably come down to a game-time decision. Estrada has an ankle injury. Midfielder Shalrie Joseph, a designated player acquired from Chivas USA during the offseason, did not make the trip to Mexico due to a calf strain.
The winner of the Seattle-Tigres series will face the Houston Dynamo-Santos winner. That series begina in April with the final scheduled May 1. Winner of the tournament will advance to the FIFA Club World Cup to be held next December in Morocco.
2013 Sounders CONCACAF Schedule
- Wednesday, March 6: Sounders FC at Tigres (Monterrey, Mexico)
- Tuesday, March 12: Tigres at Sounders FC (CenturyLink)
Sounders Champions League Results
|8/3/10||El Salvador||Metapan||D||1-0-1||Draw 1-1|
|9/14/10||Costa Rica||Saprissa||L||1-3-1||Saprissa 2-0|
|7/26/11||Panama||San Francisco||L||2-6-1||San Francisco 1-0|
|8/3/11||Seattle||San Francisco||W||3-6-1||Sounders 2-0|
|9/14/11||Costa Rica||Herediano||W||6-6-1||Sounders 2-1|
SOUNDERS STATS / NOTES
- Seattle is 11-9-2 all-time in Champions League play, including 7-4-0 at CenturyLink Field. Seattle’s goal differential is a plus three at 35-32
- Seattle has played the second-most Champions League games (22) of any MLS team since qualifying for the 2010-11 tournament.
- The Sounders played four matches to reach the CCL quarterfinals. Seattle finished group play as one of three unbeaten teams, securing the third overall seed. They started the group stage with back-to-back 3-1 wins over Caledonia of Trinidad, followed by two victories over Honduras’ Marathon, winning 3-2 away and 3-1 at home. They have a plus-seven goal differential and four of the five goals conceded came from the penalty spot.
- The Sounders are 2-4 all-time against Mexican sides.
HEAD COACH: 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.
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 and is composed of 40 national associations, from Canada in the north to Guyana, Surinam and French Guyana in the south.
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 (Santos eliminated Seattle from the tournament in March).
Tigres is in San Nicolás de los Garza, a city in the Monterrey metropolitan area. Founded in 1960, the club has spent most of its history in Liga MX. Tigres has won the Liga MX three times, in 1977-78, 1981-82, and Apertura 2011.
Tigris one of the two professional football teams of the state of Nuevo León. The team plays home games at the Estadio Universitario. Tigres is also the official team of Nuevo Leon’s public university, the Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León.
The team’s nickname is Felinos — Felines.
COMING UP: Sounders host Tigres in a Champions League rematch March 12 at CenturyLink Field and then return to MLS play against Portland March 16.
Seattle Sounders FC 2013 Schedule
(0-1-0, 0 points, MLS; 0-0-0 CCL; 0-0-0 U.S. Open Cup)
|3/23||^at San Jose||7:30||KING/KONG||—||—||—|
|5/26||^at LA Galaxy||8:00||ESPN2||—||—||—|
|7/13||^at San Jose||7:30||KING/KONG||—||—||—|
|9/21||^at LA Galaxy||7:30||NBCSN||—||—||—|
|10/19||^at FC Dallas||1:00||NBCSN||—||—||—|
*=CONCACAF; ^=Major League Soccer