Photo by Jane Gershovich/JaneG.Photography
By IVES GALARCEP
The Seattle Sounders knew they had done a good job escaping from Mexico down just one goal against current Mexican League leaders UANL Tigres last week, but only now do they realize just how close that result has them from a historic result in the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals.
Tigres has decided to field a team made up largely of back-ups for tonight’s second leg at CenturyLink Field in Seattle (10pm, Fox Soccer Channel) and that decision could open the door for the Sounders to become the first MLS team to beat a Mexican team in the knockout rounds of the current version of the CONCACAF Champions League.
Tigres has opened the door for that possibility by sending a mostly reserve side to Seattle for tonight’s match. The lone unbeaten team in Mexico, Tigres scored a road win over the weekend and clearly don’t want to wear out their first team when the squad is in the midst of a race for first place.
The team sent by Tigres isn’t exactly a pushover. While it is filled with players who haven’t seen much playing time for the Mexican side, there is plenty of talent. Alan Pulido, the scorer of the Tigres goal in the first leg, will lead the attack, while veterans Manuel Viniegra and Elias Hernandez are also good talents. American defender Jonathan Bornstein is also with the Tigres squad and should play some part in the match.
Tigres has enough talent on their team to score a valuable away goal, which is something Seattle will have to be wary off because a road goal for Tigres would mean Seattle has to score three goals.
The Sounders struggled to finish chances in their MLS season-opening loss to Montreal, but they have the weapons to score in bunches, as they showed in their home leg playoff loss to the Los Angeles Galaxy last fall.
Seattle has a chance to make history tonight, and will have the support of what should be a strong home crowd to drive them, but Sigi Schmid will be careful to send the message that this Tigres side is still very capable of earning the necessary result tonight.
If you will be watching tonight’s match, please feel free to share your thoughts, opinions and some play-by-play in the comments section below.
Enjoy the action.