Sounders hope to win one for MLS
Sounders FC's task Tuesday? Become the first MLS team to eliminate a Mexican opponent in the knockout rounds of the CONCACAF Champions League.
Seattle Times staff reporter
Tigres UANL @ Sounders FC, 7 p.m. (FOX Soccer)
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TUKWILA — Sounders FC could help MLS take a step forward Tuesday by becoming the league's first team to eliminate a Mexican opponent in the knockout rounds of the CONCACAF Champions League.
Seattle hosts Tigres UANL, the top team in Mexico's Liga MX, in the second leg of a two-game, aggregate-goals quarterfinal at 7 p.m. at CenturyLink Field.
By overcoming a 1-0 series deficit, the hope is the Sounders would advance MLS's growth — both in perception and achievement.
General manager Adrian Hanauer said advancing would be a "milestone for the league and certainly for our club, but we've always said we want to win trophies, so this would be a steppingstone on the way. It'd be a big one, getting past a team like Tigres — the best team in Mexico today — but we have our work cut out for us."
MLS teams are 0 for 5 against Liga MX opposition in CCL knockout rounds since the tournament changed formats four years ago. One of those losses was Seattle's 7-3 aggregate defeat to Santos Laguna in the 2011-12 quarterfinals.
A year later, the Sounders are in a great position to make history after keeping things close in the first leg.
For Tuesday's game, Tigres left many of their star players at home. Do the Sounders feel disrespected by that decision?
"I'm really not going to comment on that," coach Sigi Schmid said, "because I don't know the internal workings of their club or what their coach is thinking about. ... His determination where his team is at fitness-wise, preference, travel, those are his decisions. I've got enough confusing stuff going on in my head to not worry about this stuff."
Added Hanauer: "I don't care who they send. That's their issue."
An MLS breakthrough, by whatever means, would speak for itself.
"It would be a great sign for U.S. soccer if we can beat the Mexicans," said goalkeeper Michael Gspurning, "because (in Mexico) there is just soccer there. It would really hurt them and we want to make this possible."
• An estimated 17,600 tickets had been distributed for the game as of Monday afternoon, according to a team spokesman. Tickets will be available at the stadium.
• The Sounders will be without injured defender Adam Johansson (knee) and midfielder Shalrie Joseph (calf) against Tigres. Forward David Estrada (ankle) and midfielder Mario Martinez (knee) are also injury concerns.
One player who could be back from injury is midfielder Steve Zakuani, who has been recovering from a sprained ankle.
Joshua Mayers: 206-464-3184 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Twitter @joshuamayers.
|MLS teams are 0 for 5 against Mexican opposition in the CCL knockout rounds.|
|Year||Liga MX||MLS||Aggregate score|
|2010-11||Monterrey||Real Salt Lake||3-2|
|2011-12||Santos Laguna||Sounders FC||7-3|
|2011-12||Santos Laguna||Toronto FC||7-3|