-76:00 I (sidereal) will be liveblogging tonight's event as well as the game, assuming I'm able to see it over the hordes of partying Sounders faithful. What's the general consensus on liveblog formats? New stuff at the top? Bottom? (Never mind. We'll do it in comments)
This season could wind up with a lot of "biggest games of the year," to get to the next one the Seattle Sounders FC must advance tonight and match a task that only one other MLS side has ever done in CONCACAF Champions League/Cup Knockout Round play. They can do so by emulating themselves and FC Dallas by winning on the road. A draw also means they advance and any loss by one goal that Seattle scores at least two also means that the Sounders reach the CCL semifinal.
Santos Laguna is a quality side and quite impressive at home. They are undefeated in the current Clausura's six home matches, though they have two draws. In the current CCL they collected four wins in four played with a +11 goal differential. On December 8th they lost to UANL Tigres in the Apertura Final. In that Apertura regular season they had two home losses.
But Seattle has a bit of a history with Mexican sides now. In their three away matches in Mexico ANY of those results (2-3 loss, 1-0 win, 5-2 win) would result in advancement. In their four home matches against Mexican sides (0-1 loss, 1-2 loss, 2-0 win, 2-1 win) only one would eliminate them in regular time. A 1-2 result forces a pure extra time of two 15 minute periods. Unlike the MLS Cup Playoffs where Seattle has never led they enter Wednesday's match with the lead. In all two-leg series the Sounders FC of MLS have advanced two of five times, both in Champions League play. In all elimination matches in the MLS era the Sounders advanced 16 times and failed 3 times.
All that history means little tonight.
In one game, in just a few special moments a new future can be declared. They are underdogs, on the road, but a road that isn't particularly hostile. The opponent plays a style of defense that allows Seattle's best players space to excel at their greatest attributes. Sigi Schmid's defense is anchored by a central triangle (Osvaldo Alonso, Jeff Parke and Jhon Kennedy Hurtado) of quality tacklers who are also great passers. On the left they have a shutdown defender willing to clutch and grab a bit as Leo Gonzalez will get back in Herculez Gomez' head.
There's a chance. And when hundreds gather to watch together or when one man sits on his coach alone, that's all they want. They want that chance to watch something special. Tonight the Sounders will be heard on the world stage. Let your voice ring proud.
The game is on Fox Soccer and CONCACAF.com (free, registration required) at 5:00 PM
Pre Match Build-up: Lineup Card | Three Questions | Preparations | Two More Questions | Formations & Tactics | Estrada | It's Halftime Seattle
Opposing Looks: FMF State of Mind
- Respond to the Counter
- Utilize Gaps in Right Side
- Score Early
- Control Central Third
- Fredy Montero v Oswaldo Sanchez
- Leo Gonzalez v Herculez Gomez
- Osvaldo Alonso v Oribe Peralta
How We're Watching
Beverage: Brougham Bitter by Big Al's
Scarf: Nos Audietis 2012
Kit: One Nation Under Sigi
Where I'm Watching: Golazo HQ for the Beat Santos Viewing Party
Nos Audietis In Somniis | Nos Audietis In Altum