Sounders FC focuses on CONCACAF after embarrassing loss to Manchester United
Seattle will travel to Panama to face local club San Francisco FC in preliminary round Tuesday night.
Seattle Times staff reporter
Sounders FC @ San Francisco FC, 5 p.m.
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TUKWILA — 7-0.
Even if the lopsided score didn't entirely capture the nature of Sounders FC's friendly against Manchester United, an air of embarrassment hung around after the humbling loss. Almost a week later, Seattle players and coaches are eager to move on and recapture the momentum of an 11-game unbeaten streak in all competitions.
"We have some big games coming up," said defender Patrick Ianni. "We can't let any of that disappointment linger."
A 3,700-mile trip to Panama should help the Sounders refocus. Seattle kicks off participation in the 2011-12 CONCACAF Champions League on the road Tuesday with a 5 p.m. preliminary-round game against San Francisco FC.
The second game in the home-and-home series is Aug. 3 at CenturyLink Field.
Sounders FC also has an MLS game Saturday in Houston, another hot-weather affair amid a demanding couple of weeks, and coach Sigi Schmid said his team is looking for redemption.
"I think we're going to show our character when we go down to Panama on Tuesday and when we go into Houston," he said. "I think we'll show what we're made of."
Defender James Riley said the next four matches (two CCL games and two MLS road games) will be a "measuring stick" for the team.
The Sounders will also be motivated by underachieving last year in their first taste of international competition. While given a difficult draw, Seattle lost five of its six group-stage games in 2010 to finish last in Group C.
"I think you take a lot of experience from it," said Ianni. "Last year was the first time for a lot of guys in that competition. Obviously we did well to qualify for group stage and finished it strong, but it's about managing those away games and making sure we win all our home games. For now we just need to get a result down in Panama and come back in front of our fans and take it to them."
Riley said the team "learned a bit of gamesmanship" from last year's CCL run and will look to manage Tuesday's match defensively. International trips also present unique challenges, he said, "from travel, to food, to the hotels, to the locker rooms, to the field, to the style of play that we face. It's a lot of variables, so we're going to try and control what we can control, go down there with a game plan and look to execute."
Alonso named an inactive All-Star
Midfielder Osvaldo Alonso was voted an inactive MLS All-Star by a player vote, the league announced Monday. The 25-year-old Cuban won't be available to play in Wednesday's MLS All-Star Game against Manchester United, but will receive an All-Star bonus as negotiated in the collective-bargaining agreement.
This is the first all-star nomination for Alonso, who has played 90 minutes in all 21 of his appearances this season.
• Defender Jhon Kennedy Hurtado (knee) and midfielder Brad Evans (hamstring) did not make the trip to Panama. Forward O'Brian White, who returned last week after a three-month recovery from leg surgery, was also not included in the 20-man travel squad, which will fly straight to Houston after Tuesday's game.
• Sounders FC qualified for the CCL by winning the 2010 U.S. Open Cup. The winner between Seattle and San Francisco FC advances to Group D, which is headed by defending champion Monterrey of Mexico. Guatemalan club Comunicaciones is also in the group. The fourth team will either be Herediano of Costa Rica or Alpha United FC of Guyana, who also face off in the preliminary round.
Joshua Mayers: 206-464-3184 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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