Tonight in Tegucigalpa the Seattle Sounders and CD Olimpia play a rematch of last week’s instant classic.
Frankly ekeing out a draw would be a great result. Losing (by not too wide a margin) may be better. The schedule of Group F is balanced decidedly against Seattle. After tonight the Sounders will have played all but one of their Group F games, whereas Olimpia will be only 2 games in, and Vancouver just 1. We need those two teams to stay invested in their games. The Honduran side’s domestic season is in such jeopardy (sounds familiar), that winning tonight may cause them to tank in their games against Vancouver. If Olimpia feels they still have a puncher’s chance, they’ll do their best to take it to Vancouver. Granted Seattle’s chance of advancing is much better if both opponents play to draws, but I’d be cool with Vancouver getting whupped on later in the MLS season and slowing down their trajectory into the Western Conference playoffs.
BOLD PREDICTION: Sigi Schmid accompanied a mixed squad down to Honduras. Higher roster players such as Frei, Mears, Neagle, Pineda and Rose travelled along with Damion Lowe, Victor Mansaray, Jimmy Ockford, and Darwin Jones. Sigi is really giving us a wide spectrum of the roster and, arguably, a better 18 than he fielded last week.
I was one of the folks super bummed about the B-side that took the pitch last Wednesday against Olimpia. Then RSL happened. Now I’d much rather have Mears, Frei and Neagle not be in Honduras tonight. I am especially bummed Neagle travelled. He is a dynamic contributor to the first team and definitely needs rest. Neagle is eating minutes like nobody’s business. Saturday’s game saw him play less than 60 minutes for only the 5th time this season. He’s started 20 of 26 League games and all 3 non-league games. He’s given the full ninety 12 times, and 80+ 15 times. For an attacking player, that is a tremendous amount of work. And with Barrett and Clint still convalescing, Seattle needs as many quality striker options as possible.
So “tank in Teguce and keep your starters fit for Portland” isn’t going to happen. But hopefully the JV starts and the better players peppering the 18 are only called on if the game is getting out of hand (remember goal differential is the first tiebreaker, so we don’t want to fall apart). I think Sigi is fine with losing tonight, but hopes for a draw. This is a CONCACAF game, in Central America, so it is hard to legitimately predict the match… So let’s “go out on a limb here,” and say things get wacky. Final 2-1 Olimpia.