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Sounders draw CD Olimpia in Concacaf Champions League

Just one Liga MX team is on Sounders’ side of the bracket.

evans
The last time the Sounders faced Olimpia, we saw one of the wildest finishes in CCL history.
With permission from Brandon Bleek

The Seattle Sounders were given a reasonably favorable path to the Concacaf Champions League finals during Monday’s draw, and it will start with a familiar opponent.

The Sounders drew CD Olimpia, and will host the second leg between Feb. 25-27. The Sounders last played Olimpia in 2015 when the CCL format included group stages prior to the knockout round. The Seattle-leg between Sounders and Olimpia included one of the wildest finishes in the history of the competition. Trailing 1-0 into the 90th minute, the Sounders managed an equalizer through an Erik Friberg goal, before all hell broke loose.

In the 97th minute, Brad Evans converted a penalty — then got into it with the Olimpia keeper — which gave the Sounders the 2-1 victory, a win that was the difference in the Sounders advancing to the CCL knockout round in 2016 where they were ultimately eliminated by a 5-3 aggregate score by Club America in the quarterfinals.

Since that game, the group stage has been scrapped. The CCL is now contested among 16 teams from the region, consisting of four U.S. entrants, four from Liga MX and one from Canada as well as six qualifiers from the Central American and Caribbean countries. The CCL winner then represents the federation in the Club World Cup, scheduled to be held in December 2020 in Qatar.

No MLS team has won the current incarnation of the CCL, though three MLS teams have made it to the finals (Toronto 2018, Montreal 2016-2017, Real Salt Lake 2010-2011).

The draw was reasonably favorable to the Sounders overall. If they are able to advance past Olimpia, they would take on the winner of the Montreal Impact-Deportivo Saprissa matchup, meaning they would not face a side from Liga MX until the semifinals at the earliest. The only MLS side to draw Liga MX competition in the first round was LAFC, who will take on Leon in the Round of 16.

While far from the worst-case scenario it could have been, Sounders GM Garth Lagerwey noted that in a tournament like this there are no easy games. Olimpia is historically one of the strongest teams in Central America.

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