Tied 2-2, the Seattle Sounders and Pumas UNAM are ready to make history. Neither side has won Concacaf Champions League in its current format. Pumas last won the Concacaf Champions Cup in 1989. Sounders are trying to not just win their first, but the first for an American team since 2000 in that older format. Wednesday’s match is a Big F-ng Game (7:00 PM PT, FS1/TUDN). Arrive early, because tens of thousands of people will be in joining you in stadium for this one.
Leg 1 came down to three penalties and a brilliant header. Sounders controlled the flow of play, though they struggled a bit with Pumas’ ability to sling in early crosses.
While Seattle had the weekend off, Pumas won a Liga MX match and qualified for the playoffs. Guess who scored for them, even though he didn’t start — Juan Ignacio Dinenno with a brace.
For FMF State of Mind, Eugene answers two more questions.
SaH: What will Pumas think worked well? How will they attempt to lean into that on the road?
FMFSoM: Pumas moved the ball well and kept Seattle on the back foot for a lot of the game, and they’ll (rightly or wrongly) feel like Seattle was aided by some Concacaf-ery in the two penalties that were given. I thought Pumas’ defense did well to keep Seattle off balance for most of the match, preventing them from creating many chances. Even after losing Alan Mozo to an injury, the defense did their job and allowed Pumas to focus more on the offensive side of the ball.
Pumas’ home field advantage also wasn’t much of an advantage. Normally under the scorching noon sun, a home game at night in the rain just isn’t something they’re accustomed to. That they were able to adjust and play well for most of the game should give them a psychological boost, especially since “cold, dark, and rainy” are more associated with Seattle than Mexico City. This and grievances both real and perceived from the first match surely gives Pumas an underdog, “us against the world” mentality they can use as fuel.
SaH: What impact will the league match Sunday have on their attempt to win the continental title?
FMFSoM: If anything, I think it will be a massive boost for their confidence. Andés Lillini rested Juan Ignacio Dinenno and Leonel López for the first 60 minutes and was still able to get a win against superlíder Pachuca to make the playoffs. That’s huge in terms of both psychology and workload. Of course they still have to fly from Mexico City to Seattle and play a Wednesday game, but they had an obligation to the league to play their game this past weekend. They did, and got a victory against the best team in the best league in the confederation.
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