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Sounders at Motagua, Concacaf Champions League: Three Questions

Seattle kicks off competitive matches Thursday night at 6:00 PM PT on FS2/TUDN

Honduras´ Motagua Roberto Moreira celebrates after scoring against Guatemala´s Comunicaciones during their Concacaf first leg final football match, at the Tiburcio Carias Andino stadium, in Tegucigalpa on December 8, 2021.
Photo by ORLANDO SIERRA/AFP via Getty Images

Chasing four major trophies in one year, the Seattle Sounders start 2022 on the road in Honduras. Their opponent is Motagua, who seems to be in a second-best rut. They were second best in the Concacaf League to qualify for this tournament. They’ve also finished second in Honduran league play in both of 2020-21 seasons and both of those playoffs. Motagua is in their 6th all-time Concacaf Champions League.

This season they are 2-1-2, +1 with a 1-1 draw versus rival Olimpia in their last match. Seattle has yet to play a competitive match. Thursday’s game is the first leg of a two-leg contest. The winner faces the winner of León and Guastatoya.

Answering Three Questions is Eduardo Solano.

SaH: Motagua is off to a 2-1-2, +1 start this season sitting in 4th. What are the expectations like for their 2022 season?

Solano: Motagua is going through a very bad situation internally, there’s a lot of division between the fans and head coach, Diego Vasquez, as the fan base continue asking the owners to sack him in favor of their “dream coach” former MLS star, Amado Guevara. The longest honeymoon in the Honduran league is over, being a runner-up for the last 4 consecutive tournaments to archival, Olimpia, just made things worse. Added to that, they were not able to lift any silverware in all international finals they played in Concacaf League. A rocky start in the current tournament is making fans and media skeptical about what they would be able to do against the Sounders.

SaH: How does coach Diego Vásquez generally set up the team? Do they sit back, attack? What formation? Will this shift for CCL?

Solano: Motagua has in their goalkeeper Jonathan Rougier, one of their best players and captain. Defensively they play 4 in the back with national team players Carlos Melendez, and Marcelo Pereira — newly signed star, Denil Maldonado won’t be able to play. The left back position belongs to Omar Elvir and on the right side Marcelo Santos. The defensive midfield tend to highlight players like Juan Delgado and Jonathan Nuñez, with Diego Auzqui in front. On top Paraguayan striker, Roberto Moreira, and Ivan Lopez or Jesse Moncada on the wings, with Angel Tejeda as 9.

SaH: Fans aren’t able to attend the match, does that dampen the excitement of this tournament?

Solano: Fans play a big part in the success of any team, not being able to do it on their pitch makes it very hard for the home club. This game is more like an away game for both, with Seattle having to make more adjustments due to the grass and weather, on the other hand, Motagua won’t be able to feed up from the energy they usually get from supporters groups throughout the 90 minutes of each game. They definitely will be a man short without “La Revo”.

For more CCL preview, check out Niko Moreno with Jeremiah Oshan on the Sounder at Heart Podcast.

Solano came recommended by Jon Arnold of Get Concacafed fame.

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