CCL Preview: Sounders v. Metapan

Wednesday, July 28, 2010 | View Comments

by Dan Barkley

CONCACAF Champions League Preliminary Round, First Leg.

Time: Wednesday, July 28, 10pm EST.

Location: Qwest Field, Seattle

Media: FSC

Seattle begins their international competition history tonight against Isidro Metapán, and it's hard for me to be as excited for this game after last night. It's not fair to the Sounders, but I am crushed after the embarrassment in Los Angeles. I was feeling confident about this game, and in general still am, but everything is a bit tempered. Jason already gave his impressions on the game so I won't say anymore on the topic.

Back to the game at hand, I don't think it contains that dangerous combination of an underdog with a history of over-performing in the competition against a lackadaisical team in an empty home stadium. Metapán was in El Salvador's second division in the 90's, but has established themselves as one of the top two teams in the national league recently. They've won either the Apertura or Clausura each of the past four years. However, the El Salvador league is not particularly strong, no team from the league has done much in the CCL in the past few years. Metapán themselves have not advanced past the round where they entered; they did beat the Dynamo in El Salvador last year, however, their only win in group play. Looking at games between MLS and El Salvador sides the last two competitions, DC United got past Luis Ángel Firpo in the preliminary round last year (but only on penalties), while the Dynamo won once and drew once with the same side the previous year's group stage. That puts MLS at 2-3-1 vs. Salvadoran sides in the past two years. Not exactly awe-inspiring, but at this point I'll take any sort of hope.

I would say Metapán is the weakest of the three sides MLS faces in the prelim, and Seattle will at least have the advantage of a decent crowd on hand (reports of somewhere between 12-22k tickets sold). The Galaxy showed us how hard it can be to play with no home crowd, something Seattle can hopefully avoid. The Sounders have also showed a propensity for playing well in cup competitions in their young MLS history, so I will naively hope for a good effort tonight. Here's to Seattle helping us wash some of the awful taste of last night away with a strong performance.

For more on the game from the Sounder side of things, head over to Sounder at Heart.

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