Sounders coach Sigi Schmid said he believes his team is capable of advancing to CONCACAF finals
The Sounders trail Santos Laguna, 1-0, in the CONCACAF Champions League semifinals heading into Tuesday's second leg in Mexico.
Seattle Times staff reporter
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TUKWILA — Sounders FC's run in the 2012-13 CONCACAF Champions League has already rewritten the history books once.
But Seattle, after becoming the first MLS team to eliminate a Mexican opponent in the tournament's knockout stages, needs to do it again.
No team has ever advanced in a two-game CCL series after losing the first leg at home (0 for 12). That's the position the Sounders are in after losing to Mexico's Santos Laguna, 1-0, last week at CenturyLink Field.
The finale in the two-game aggregate-goals semifinal is 5 p.m. Tuesday at Estadio Corona in Torreon, Mexico.
"Nothing's impossible," said Sounders forward Eddie Johnson.
Seattle would advance to the CCL finals — a feat just one other MLS team has accomplished — with any win of two goals or more. A one-goal win with at least two goals scored would also put the Sounders through, because the first tiebreaker is away goals. A 1-0 Seattle win would send the series into a 30-minute overtime, and a penalty-kick shootout follows if there is still no winner.
Santos Laguna, last year's CCL runner-up, would make it back to the finals with any tie or win.
For the Sounders, the task is immense, and they have done little to instill confidence it can be done.
Seattle is the only winless team in MLS play and has lost three straight games, when including CCL, for the first time since the end of 2010.
In all competitions, the Sounders are 1-5-1 and 0-3 on the road.
No wonder Seattle's elimination seems inevitable.
"That's what everyone is going to feel, and that's normal," said coach Sigi Schmid. "But we believe in ourselves and we believe in our ability to do a difficult thing.
"It's nice to do unexpected things and things that people don't expect you to do. I know probably Santos, in the back on their minds, doesn't expect us to do it, so that might give us a little bit of an edge."
The Sounders' efforts going into Mexico were aided by MLS, as Seattle was able to reschedule last Sunday's home game against Chivas USA to Sept. 4.
On the other hand, Santos Laguna had to play a league game at Tijuana on Saturday and used most of its regulars. Nine of the 11 starters from the CCL first leg started again over the weekend.
Schmid said the Sounders will hope to take advantage of the opponents' workload, perhaps when fatigue hits in the second half, but the strategy won't be attack-only.
"We have to be disciplined," he said. "We can't give anything up, because (any goal) we give up just makes it that much harder at the other end for us. We want to be in a situation where we don't give anything up and we catch a goal, and we force them to start taking risks because they're at home. Then hopefully we can catch another goal."
• The start of Sounders FC's July 28 home game against Chivas USA has been pushed back two hours to 8 p.m.
Joshua Mayers: 206-464-3184 or email@example.com. On Twitter @joshuamayers.