Skip to content

Odds stacked against Seattle in tonight’s CONCACAF Champions League showdown

Apr 2, 2013, 11:05 AM EDT

Eddie Johnson

Seattle could do something next to impossible over the next few days, executing a high wire act in high wind against Mexico’s powerful Santos Laguna.

It could happen.

But if we’re being honest, there is no compelling reason to like the Sounders’ chances in the CONCACAF Champions League semifinal series that begins tonight in the Pacific Northwest. Kickoff on Fox Soccer Channel is set for 10 p.m. ET.

Sigi Schmid’s team is struggling mightily in MLS, anchored to the bottom of the Western Conference standings with one measly point from four matches. Last week’s early capitulation in Utah sounded the loudest alarm bells.

And there’s some butt-ugly history here, a painful moment that might just qualify as the worst memory for Sounders supporters since the club joined MLS in 2009. Seattle took a 2-1 lead to Torreon, Mexico, against this very same Santos side. Optimism ran high that Schmid’s Sounders could get the result and move on that evening last March – but the wheels flew off this moving vehicle spectacularly.

Santos tore the Sounders apart, brushing aside the visitors in a 6-1 result.

Credit the Sounders for putting that one behind them and going on to have a highly credible MLS campaign. But the team still wears the scars of that ambush in Torreon, and they will carry that baggage tonight, heavy with the knowledge that conceding so much as one goal at CenturyLink Field could undo this year’s Champions League efforts.

Odds of keeping the visitors off the board take a hit because steady goalkeeper Michael Gspurning is suspended due to yellow card accumulation. Considering his heroic play over the weekend, that’s a huge bummer for the 20,000 or so expected around the rave green ground for this one.

So Marcus Hahnemann, the longtime third-choice U.S. man, is on the spot tonight. That’s not bad. There’s no chance he’ll buckle beneath the weight of this thing, but his shot-stopping and ability to get off his line – good as it looked in preseason – won’t match Gspurning’s.

As for personnel in front of Hahnemann: Patrick Ianni remains out, which means Jhon Kennedy Hurtado will be back in the lineup at center back – and fans can only hope he gets his act together for this one. Hurtado was pretty bad in Saturday’s loss to Real Salt Lake.

At the other end, forward David Estrada appears to be out. That wouldn’t be such an issue except that Eddie Johnson and Obafemi Martins are questionable, too.

Again, it could happen. But Schmid’s team needs supreme focus in the back, plus something special on the offensive end in order to set up any reasonable chance in next week’s return leg in Mexico.

Latest Posts
  1. MLS Snapshot: Real Salt Lake 0-0 LA Galaxy

    May 7, 2015, 12:30 AM EDT

    Rio Tinto Stadium, Real Salt Lake Rio Tinto Stadium, Real Salt Lake

    The trend of MLS teams playing extremely negative soccer away from home continues, unfortunately.

  2. Colorado Rapids DP Kevin Doyle to join MLS side early, by end of May

    May 6, 2015, 10:29 PM EDT

    Kevin Doyle, Wolverhampton Wanderers Kevin Doyle, Wolverhampton Wanderers

    Reinforcements are on the way and arriving in the Mile-High City sooner than previously anticipated.

  3. Europa League preview: Sevilla vs. Fiorentina, Napoli vs. Dnipro in semifinal, 1st legs

    May 6, 2015, 9:31 PM EDT

    Carlos Bacca, FC Sevilla Getty Images

    Europe’s second-tier competition kicks off its semifinal round on Thursday, and this year’s title is totally up for grabs.

  4. Newcastle United turned down by McClaren, will stick with Carver through end of season

    May 6, 2015, 8:11 PM EDT

    Steve McClaren, Derby County FC Getty Images

    Newcastle’s first choice for a new manager has turned them down, so now what?

  5. Bayern Munich players: “We must believe” we can replicate Porto comeback vs. Barcelona

    May 6, 2015, 6:35 PM EDT

    Manuel Neuer, FC Bayern Munich & Luis Suarez, FC Barcelona Getty Images

    It’s a long, long way back for Bayern Munich in the Champions League, but they’re keeping the faith — at least they’re trying to.

  6. Three things we learned from Barcelona’s huge win vs. Bayern Munich

    May 6, 2015, 5:30 PM EDT

    Messi’s magic leads the way as we were treated to a gem of a game at the Nou Camp. Here’s what we learned.

  7. VIDEO: Lionel Messi’s stunning 2nd goal vs. Bayern Munich in Champions League semifinal

    May 6, 2015, 5:05 PM EDT

    Dani Alves & Lionel Messi, FC Barcelona Dani Alves & Lionel Messi, FC Barcelona

    Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: Lionel Messi, the world’s best player, scored a truly unbelievable goal.

  8. Barcelona 3-0 Bayern Munich: Messi magic negates Neuer’s first-half heroics

    May 6, 2015, 4:45 PM EDT

    Lionel Messi, FC Barcelona Lionel Messi, FC Barcelona

    Manuel Neuer was Herculean in the first half, but Lionel Messi was magical during the second 45. Barca have one foot in the final.

  9. Real Madrid most valuable team, worth over $3 billion; five Premier League teams in top 10

    May 6, 2015, 3:59 PM EDT

    FC Barcelona v Real Madrid CF - La Liga Getty Images

    Real lead for a third-straight year, but Bayern Munich, United are the big climbers.

  10. LIVE – UEFA Champions League semifinal: Can Barcelona get payback on beat up Bayern?

    May 6, 2015, 1:54 PM EDT

    Lewandowski Getty Images

    Robert Lewandowski will play despite facial injuries, but a host of other Bayern players are out as Pep Guardiola returns to the Nou Camp.

  11. Freak double injury suddenly puts Rais Mbolhi back in pole position to start for Philadelphia

    May 6, 2015, 12:53 PM EDT

    Mbolhi Getty Images

    Two training ground injuries to both Philadelphia goalkeepers in a matter of seconds has Rais Mbolhi the only man currently under contract who is fit to start.

  12. Burnley defender Michael Duff has red card rescinded, will be available vs Hull City

    May 6, 2015, 12:20 PM EDT

    Duff Getty Images

    They’ll have their defender back, but they can’t have the match back, and that may be the most painful.

  13. Sebastian Lletget reportedly to sign with LA Galaxy

    May 6, 2015, 11:40 AM EDT

    Lletget Getty Images

    The Galaxy have signed a young American midfielder to give them a spark.

  14. Juventus confirms Paul Pogba returns to training, could play vs Real Madrid next week

    May 6, 2015, 10:48 AM EDT

    Pogba Getty Images

    He could bring balance back to the Juventus midfield for the second leg.

  15. WATCH: Incredible whiff from Torino goalkeeper gifts Empoli a lead

    May 6, 2015, 9:49 AM EDT

    Padelli Getty Images

    Oh dear. Ohhhhhh dear. We all know how this one ends. All over YouTube.

  16. Diego Simeone says “it’s only a matter of time” before he manages Lazio

    May 6, 2015, 9:26 AM EDT

    Simeone Getty Images

    “Dressed in black as always” Diego Simeone says all he wants to do is manage the teams he played for.

  17. Luis Suarez surprises Uruguayan cancer patient with video call, brings him to tears

    May 6, 2015, 8:22 AM EDT

    Suarez AP

    Young Mateo got the surprise of a lifetime on what he though was another routine call with a doctor.

  18. American Will Packwood set to join MLS, with New England interested

    May 6, 2015, 7:50 AM EDT

    Packwood Getty Images

    Birmingham City confirmed Packwood’s early release from his contract to “possibly” join the Revolution, whatever that means.

Featured video

PST Extra: Analyzing the relegation battle