For Seattle Sounders FC captain Brad Evans, Tuesday's CCL match against Club América is huge for both the Sounders and MLS as a whole. Evans told reporters at the Sounders' season-opening Media Day that Club América, like many Liga MX teams, is steeped in history and tradition both domestically and in continental competition. "For the most part, historically, I think they've been very good. Especially in this competition." Evans imagines Club América will come to CenturyLink Field with their history and record in the front of their minds, something the Sounders will have to knock loose as quickly as possible.
"At some point, you gotta break the mold," Evans said. "And for us, I think this is as good a time to play this team. I think we're feeling fresh and will have a first choice lineup. I think the guys are hungry."
Evans is confident in the Sounders' chances on Tuesday, "we know that we can get results at home, no matter who it's against." The Sounders have gone 2-3-0 against Liga MX teams at home in their CCL history. But the Sounders captain also knows that winning at home is only half the battle, as the club will have to travel to Mexico City on March 2 to play in one of the toughest stadiums in the world. "The ultimate test is playing a week later at the Azteca."
Club América are coming to Seattle on the heels of a dramatic 3-3 draw in their weekend Liga MX clash with Cruz Azul, which has its pros and cons for the Sounders. On the one hand, América is mostly match fit, but they also sacrificed a handful of players to injury and red cards and may be limping into CenturyLink on Tuesday.
Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid admitted that the weekend's match helped him build his gameplan: "The game brought a little bit of clarity, obviously because Munoz (América goalkeeper) got injured and Benedetto got injured. Peralta and Quintero got red cards so the chances are that they're playing against us because they can't play on the weekend anyway." Between the current state of Club América and their recent team selection in the Champions League, Schmid hopes to "get a little bit of an idea about their lineup."
Schmid addressed his approach to the home leg of a two-legged matchup, saying that "the most important thing for sure is to keep a clean sheet. If we can go down there not having given up an away goal here I think that's important for our team. Winning is also important, getting as many goals as we can is important, but really it's about not giving up an away goal. If we don't give up an away goal and win the game, that forces them to come at us down there and opens up the possibilities for us to counter and get an away goal for ourselves."
Addressing whether or not the new CenturyLink turf would present the Sounders with more of a home advantage, Schmid minimized the effects, saying "the turf is part of it and has been in the past, but our real advantage of always being at home is our crowd, our fans, and our atmosphere."