Limited prep time leaves Sounders FC scrambling vs. Comunicaciones
Seattle had just two days to prepare for Tuesday's CONCACAF Champions League group-stage match against the Guatemalan team at CenturyLink Field.
Seattle Times staff reporter
CONCACAF Champions League: Comunicaciones
@ Sounders FC, 7 p.m.,
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TUKWILA — A two-day crash course.
That's all Sounders FC players had to prepare for Comunicaciones of Guatemala, Seattle's opponent Tuesday in a CONCACAF Champions League group-stage game at CenturyLink Field.
"I haven't heard about them or know too much about them, so it's a bit difficult," defender Jeff Parke said Sunday. "But I'm sure they're thinking the same thing about us."
Such is the challenge of international competition, especially during a jampacked summer schedule — Tuesday marks the second of six games for the Sounders in a span of 18 days. And while Seattle will put in its time studying videotape and analyzing Comunicaciones' tactics, only so much prep work can be done.
"We want to be aware of some of their key guys and their style of play," said forward Mike Fucito, "but ultimately, it's about how we play."
Coach Sigi Schmid, who has been able to scout ahead, praised the Guatemalan team's speed, youth and energy. Several of the Comunicaciones players also represented Guatemala at this summer's CONCACAF Gold Cup.
"It should be a good game, an exciting game," said Schmid.
And also an important game.
If the Sounders want to advance to the knockout stages of the tournament, winning their home games will be vital. Not to mention Seattle will face its most difficult group-stage game next week on the road against defending champion Monterrey of Mexico.
"It's huge," said Parke of Tuesday's game. "We have to get the points. Last year it seemed like we had a lot of away games to start the Champions League and that was tough."
Seattle started group play last year with three of its first four games on the road. The Sounders lost all of them en route to a disappointing last-place finish in Group C with a 1-5 record.
This year's schedule is more favorable, but Schmid said his team will be best served by the experience gained in 2010.
"These guys now in Year 2, they have an idea of what the travel is like, they have an idea of what the field is like, they have an idea of what the accommodations are going to be like, and that's a big part of when you play in the CONCACAF region," said Schmid.
• All-star MF Osvaldo Alonso is suspended for Tuesday's game due to yellow-card accumulation in the preliminary round against San Francisco FC of Panama. Alonso has played 2,160 MLS minutes this season, the most of any Sounders FC field player.
• MF Brad Evans (hamstring) and D Jhon Kennedy Hurtado (knee) are expected to play Tuesday. Seattle will likely call upon its depth to fill out the roster having had just two days' rest after Saturday's scoreless tie with Chivas USA.
• Miguel Montano will play on loan for the Montreal Impact of the North American Soccer League through the 2011 season. Schmid said the 20-year-old midfielder would rejoin the Sounders next year at the earliest.
Joshua Mayers: 206-464-3184 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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