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Five things you need to know when Sounders take on Pumas in the first leg of the CCL Final

Time to make history.

Pumas UNAM v Monterrey - Torneo Grita Mexico C22 Liga MX Photo by Hector Vivas/Getty Images

The Seattle Sounders take on Pumas UNAM tonight in the first leg of the 2022 Concacaf Champions League Final. Here are the five things you need to know before kickoff.

No away goals tiebreaker

In typical Concacaf fashion, the final is more confusing than the previous knockout stages. During the previous rounds there was the presence of the away goals tiebreaker. That does not exist for the Concacaf Champions League Final. That doesn’t mean the scoreline in Mexico City is irrelevant, obviously, but it does mean the Sounders have a bit of breathing room because they’re hosting the second leg.

Pumas absences

Seattle’s opponent tonight will be without some key members. Centerback Arturo Ortiz picked up a red card in the semi-final and will be suspended for the first leg of the final. In an even bigger absence, they’ll be without star striker Juan Ignacio Dinenno due to an ongoing struggle with a muscle injury. Dinenno is the leading scorer in CCL play this year with seven goals in six matches, and has 15 goals across all competitions this year. They’ll also be without starting defensive midfielder Leonel Lopez.

Seattle absences (or lack thereof)

The Sounders are about as healthy as a team can be on the injury front. Yeimar Gomez Andrade is back from an ankle sprain and played some minutes over the weekend. Both Nicolas Lodeiro and Raul Ruidiaz appear to be fully fit and ready to go. The Sounders will be without two youngsters — Reed Baker-Whiting and Danny Leyva — tonight. Both have been called into their respective age group national team camps.

Atmosphere

You know how it’s a Big F’ing Deal for the Sounders to be hosting the CCL final? Well, it’s a big deal for Pumas, too. They’ve never been to a modern CCL final and were previously the runners-up in the old competition in 2005. Their last international trophy came in 1989! They’re used to being in the shadow of Club America (their stadium is literally down the street), and now they’re on the big stage. Their average attendance this season has been skewed because of the pandemic, but it’s around 11k a game. Before the pandemic it was around 20k a game. They’ve sold at least 45k tickets for this one.

Oh, and to top it off, the stadium is in Mexico City, so the match is taking place at elevation.

A chance at history

It can’t really be overstated what is at the doorstep for the Sounders. Garth Lagerwey said that Seattle has a chance at immortality. This can only happen if the Sounders win, though. If they blow it they’ll just continue the meme that MLS teams can’t perform on the biggest stage. The Sounders are favored to win. This is MLS’s best chance ever to win this competition.