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Sounders v UANL Tigres CONCACAF Champions League Quarterfinals - Three Questions

Seattle is possibly as large an underdog as they have been in their 4+ MLS seasons heading into the Wednesday's 7 PM Pacific match against UANL Tigres in the CONCACAF Champions League.

Seattle will debut their new Shale kits Wednesday night
Seattle will debut their new Shale kits Wednesday night

It is not just power rankings that show Seattle Sounders FC as underdogs. The betting odds are overwhelming. UANL Tigres is having an amazing season, though they do have three draws at home in their last three. FoxSoccer will show this match as part of their Clash of Giants two week promotion. Most of their matchups consist of two giants, but in this one Seattle plays the minnow.

Why is that? Let's check with ChestRockwell (he's an author at Black & Red United and for CCL matches) for a round of Three Questions.

SaH: Tigres has slumped all the way to a couple of home draws recently. They are still without a loss. Is this poor form or just a lack of luck?

Chest: It's a little of both right now. Take their most recent game, a 1-1 draw with Morelia. Despite having the better team, Tigres had to rely on a cheeky free kick by Lucas Lobos as their only goal. They nursed that 1-0 lead into stoppage time, where with virtually the last kick of the game they gave up the equalizer to Carlos Ochoa. The goal had both a mistake - no one closes down the pass into the box - and bizarre bad luck. Despite getting four men around the ball, it pinballs around until it rolls to the wide open Ochoa for an easy goal.

Their previous home draw (also 1-1, this time to Santos Laguna) involved being unprepared at the start at giving up a 2nd minute goal to Carlos Darwin Quintero. Tigres created 20 shots, but only put 6 on frame and managed just the one goal.

I don't want to overstate this as a weakness. Sounders fans know all too well about how good Santos can be, and the third draw was against Apertura champions Tijuana. Even Morelia, in 10th, is still just a point away from a spot in the Liguilla. Still, it is worth noting that Tigres isn't turning their home games into the easy wins you'd expect given their roster.

SaH: How do they replace the injured Villa?

Chest: That is the good news for Sounders fans: Villa has 8 goals in 9 games in the Clausura and can generally be said to be in terrifying form. He'll miss both legs with a calf injury, though, so the goals will have to come from somewhere else.

Still, it's not like Tigres has no other options. Alan Pulido would start on plenty of Liga MX sides, and Tuca Ferretti started him in all four CCL group stage games. Former Spain international Luis García - not the one that played at Liverpool - started against Morelia and is the more experienced option, but could also line up on the right wing. Taufic Guarch is also an option, though it's worth noting that he was left out of the Tigres 18 on Saturday.

There's also the threat that the goals will just come from another player. The aforementioned Lobos has 5 goals on the season, and midfielders like Damián Álvarez (a two-time CONCACAF Champions Cup winner with Pachuca) and Danilinho also a big threat.

SaH: Will Jonathan Bornstein see the field?

Chest: Ha! No.

Wait, I can give you more than two words. Ferretti uses Bornstein as a defensive midfielder rather than at left back, where Tigres is very comfortable with Jorge Torres Nilo. Bornstein doesn't have an easy path to playing time in this less familiar role, either: José Francisco Torres, Carlos Salcido (also a left back for much of his career), Jesús Dueñas, and Manuel Viniegra are all safely ahead of Bornstein.

If he plays at all, it'll only be in the second leg and only if the first leg is a blowout win for Tigres. Even then, it would be something of a surprise.

Tigres doesn't have an SB Nation blog so there is no reverse.

This note from the Sounders weekly release is interesting.

Sounders FC will debut its new 2013 Secondary Kit, Cascade Shale, on Wednesday with goalkeepers wearing all white. Tigres will wear gold with blue.

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