This Tuesday night match between UANL Tigres and Seattle Sounders FC does not have the glamour of a friendly, nor the rivalry of Cascadia. Instead it is a test of Seattle against the best in the region. Only about 20,000 people will be in the stands, though it will probably be the third or fourth most attended CONCACAF Champions League game of the round. It carries a meaning and weight that have yet to resonate beyond the most passionate of MLS fans. It is a test that only has one passing grade, a 2002 victory in two-legs by the Kansas City Wizards. Circumstances then were nothing like now. In the Champions League era of CONCACAF it is only failure.
Seattle starts a goal down. They need to win by two to advance in regulation. A one-nil win forces overtime. A one goal win in which Tigres scores means that Tigres advances due to the Away Goal advantage.
All is not dire. Tigres is in middle of league play. Their roster is reduced because of that. It is the same situation that Sigi Schmid faces so often. This is not a sign of disrespect. It is a sign that roster maximization is a challenge even for teams that spend two to five times what MLS sides do.
There are a few keys tonight. Tigres may bunker. The Sounders will need to break that while not offering too much of a chance for the counter. That likely means using more short passing rather than crosses from the wings. Sigi's men will likely have the size advantage. If they can use that to put a goal in on a set-play early, then things change. Most important of all though is that if they get those big chances they must convert them. Goals will be at a premium tonight in the cold, wet Turf of CenturyLink. That first goal by either side changes everything.
Radio: 97.3 FM
Time: 7:00 PM PDT
- Break the bunker
- Do not over-commit forward
- Set-play success
- Maximize chances
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Scarf: Nos Audietis 2012
Kit: Established ‘97
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