THE TWO CLUBS HISTORY IN THE CCL
These two clubs have never met in the CCL before. Regardless, that this is the first match of the series, the Sounders are already faced with a must win game. The Rave Green cannot afford to start the second and final leg of the series in Estadio Aztec down a goal or tied in the goal aggregate. If that happens, Seattle has already placed one foot in their grave.
The Sounders must be aggressive against America and search for the opener. However, if Seattle’s manager Sigi Schmid comes out with a more cautious game plan on Tuesday, it might be hard to blame him since the Rave Green have a pretty bad history against Mexican clubs in the tournament.
The Sounders have struggled against Liga MX clubs either home or away. The Rave Green has faced a Mexican club eight times in the CCL and they have only won two of the matches. Their record against Liga MX clubs is (W-D-L) 2-1-5 with a negative four goal differential. However, playing it safe against the Liga MX based club will not lead to a good result, but instead a goal fest for America. That being said, the Sounders have to go on the attack and search for goals. They cannot allow America to get comfortable in the match.
Surprisingly, America only experienced playing against Major League Soccer (MLS) clubs in the 2014-2015 CCL final against the Montreal Impact. The defending CCL champs went on to win the series 5-3 on aggregate.
WHO WILL REPLACE OBAFEMI MARTINS?
With Obafemi Martins gone, will Schmid start Jordan Morris with Clint Dempsey up top? Or will Paraguayan international Nelson Valdez partner up with Dempsey? What will benefit Schmid in this match is finding a way to have the three of them on the field at the same time. By putting Morris next to Dempsey and Valdez as the number "10", the offensive threat for Seattle just jumped up a few levels.
THE SOUNDERS MUST PLAY RESPONSIBLE BUT BE AGGRESSIVE TO EARN THE RIGHT RESULT
The midfield and forwards of the Sounders will need to be playing their "A" game on Tuesday. Of course the main task is to score, but also to relief some of the pressure of their defense. America's offense is fast and explosive and if Mexican striker Oribe Peralta receives the ball in the penalty box, chances are he is going to score.
The worst outcome for Seattle is conceding a goal first. By doing so, they will be forced to attack relentlessly because they cannot go to Mexico for the second leg down a goal or two. If that happens, then they need to get a victory at the Estadio Azteca. Even the USMNT have struggled to accomplish that task. Remember the United States' only victory at the Azteca was a friendly, the U.S. have never won a competitive match there.
The Sounders are not going to win at the Azteca, so a solid result at home is a must. In result of that, the pressure will completely fall on Morris and Dempsey to finish their chances. The more goals they score at home will give them some insurance on the road.
However, the defense has to step up and make sure America does not score two away goals. The main agenda is to shutout the Mexican based club on Tuesday. However, that might be hard since Seattle's defense is still in preseason mode and America is already in mid-season form. America's pace and execution will be on point and if Seattle's defense stumbles out of the gates and allow a couple of goals, then the series might as well be over. Even if the Sounders win 3-2 their chances of advancing decrease dramatically.
Overall, in this first leg America has no pressure. The Sounders on the other hand need to earn a comfortable victory out of this match or else Schmid and Seattle will once again fall short of winning another trophy.