Seattle Sounders are one of three MLS teams to beat a Liga MX side in Mexico during CONCACAF Champions League play. That narrow win over Monterrey in the 2011-12 cycle’s Group Stage was neither the first win (that was FC Dallas, the week before Seattle’s win), nor the most significant (that’s New York Red Bulls’ win at Tijuana in this year’s tournament).
Heading into leg two against Chivas de Guadalajara, the Sounders can look to that match in 2011 and know that if they repeat it they advance to the 2018 CCL semifinals. Several of their road losses in Mexico are still good enough that they would advance. Any one-goal loss in which the Sounders score would mean Seattle advances. Any draw would also move Seattle onward. The Sounders are 1-4-1 -8 in Mexico. That’s a bad record, but only two of those six results, if repeated, would halt their 2018 run in the CCL.
Things do not get much better when including all CCL road matches for the Sounders. They are 3-5-3 -2 in Central America, the Caribbean and Canada.
Winning on the road is hard. It’s hard for national teams. It is hard for clubs. It’s just plain hard. The facilities are lower quality. The travel is extensive. The cultural change is massive.
Sounders need to look at their wins in Monterrey, Mexico; Alajuela, Costa Rica; Couva, Trinidad & Tobago; and San Pedro Sula, Honduras for guidance and inspiration. They must act capable of victory while knowing that even draws are good enough.
Sounders CCL History in Mexico
2010-11: 3-2 loss at Monterrey
In this cycle they went 0-3-1 -4 on the road in CCL.
2011-12: 1-0 win at Monterrey; 6-1 loss at Santos Laguna
In this cycle they went 2-2-1 -4 on the road in CCL.
2012-13: 1-0 loss at Tigres; 1-1 draw at Santos Laguna
In this cycle they went 2-1-1 +2 on the road in the CCL.
2015-16: 3-1 loss at Club América
In this cycle they went 0-2-1 -3 on the road in the CCL.
This year’s Champions League is only knockout rounds. Seattle lost 2-1 in San Salvador.