The Seattle Sounders will face Liga MX titan Club America in the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals.
The Sounders have never faced stiffer competition in the CCL. Club America is arguably THE bully of North American soccer. They are the most decorated team in the most prestigious league in our region. America has won 16 league titles and 9 international titles (most of any CONCACAF side). They’ve competed in the Club World Cup and, as current CCL champs, will compete again this December in Japan. Seattle must literally beat the best to be the best.
For the Sounders to become an internationally renown soccer club, they need to start consistently beating the bullies. In the 2012/2013 CCL, we qualified for the knockout as the 3 seed, having earned all 12 points with a +7 goal differential in group play. We were “rewarded” with a matchup against the #6 seed Tigres, the 2011 Liga MX Aperatura champion and then table-toppers. Magic and history ensued and we advanced to the CCL semis. 2011/2012 wasn’t seeded, but rather drawn and we drew Santos Laguna who destroyed us in the quarterfinals. In 2010/2011, we got pounded in the group stage, going 1-5-0 with a -5 GD, and didn’t advance. The Sounders have consistently advanced one step closer to the final every time they compete in CCL.
Is the year we make the final? Honestly, probably not. But being able to go toe-to-toe with America at Estadio Azteca will be awesome. Ties like these are the small steps necessary to international soccer relevance. And we should be better next year. A more integrated and rested team will do wonders for our form. Ivanschitz, Valdez, Oba and Deuce all bring international experience to the club and will have a better understanding of each other as Sounders. Unfortunately, Torres won’t be back yet from his recovery. And of course, the offseason will bring turnover.
The Sounders have had an unfortunate break from CCL play, and will only MLC Cup can qualify us for next year. So let’s pound RSL this Sunday and rip through the playoff bracket. Stay greedy, Seattle