The Sounders already have enough points to move to the next round of the CCL tournament, so Wednesday with CD Marathon is meaningless except for seeding.
MATCH: Club Deportivo Marathon (National League of Honduras) at Seattle Sounders FC (15-7-11, 53 points, 2nd, MLS West; 3-0-0 CCL). TYPE: CONCACAF Champions League. WHEN: Wednesday, 7 p.m., CenturyLink Field. MEETING: 4th (Sounders lead 2-1). TV: FOX Soccer. RADIO: None.
The Sounders take another break from MLS action Wednesday when they play the second of two 2012-13 CONCACAF Champions League (CCL) group-stage matches with Club Deportivo Marathon of Honduras. This marks the second year in a row the Sounders have drawn CD Marathon in the group stage of the tournament.
In 2011, the Sounders lost at Honduras 2-1 and beat the Hondurans at CenturyLink Field 2-0. The clubs most recently met in Honduras Sept. 19 and Seattle came away with a 3-2 victory when late subs Brad Evans (goal) and Osvaldo Alonso (assist) collaborated on the winning goal in the 78th minute.
By winning twice against Caledonia in August and beating CD Marathon in September, the Sounders took the maximum nine points, rendering Wednesday’s game meaningless except for seeding. The Sounders have already qualified for the tournament’s next round in March, 2013.
With a victory over CD Marathon Wednesday, the Sounders will clinch a top-four seed in the knockout round. That’s important. With a top four seed, the Sounders will avoid having to play the region’s top club when the tournament resumes in March. A loss or a draw could drop Seattle as low as eighth, pitting the Sounders against top clubs early.
“Obviously, there are some guys we’d like to avoid,” said coach Sigi Schmid, a reference to teams such as Mexican sides Monterrey and Santos Laguna, which eliminated the Sounders in last year’s Champions League.
The only Honduran team to beat Argentine power River Plate, Marathon is coached by Manuel Keosseian, who directed the club to three league titles from 2007-2009 and replaced Ramon Maradiaga just before the start of the Champions League.
Marathon is led by Honduran defender Jerry Palacios, who competed in the 2010 World Cup with brothers Johnny and Wilson. They became the first trio of siblings to represent a single nation in the same World Cup. Veteran defenders Mario Beata and Mauricio Sabillon also highlight the squad.
The most significant change to Schmid’s lineup Wednesday will come in goal. Veteran Marcus Hahnemann, a recent addition to the club, will start in place of Michael Gspurning. It will be Hahnemann’s Sounders debut.
2012 Sounders CONCACAF Schedule (3-0)
In Seattle’s 3-2 win over CD Marathon Sept. 19, the Sounders received goals from Sammy Ochoa, Eddie Johnson and Brad Evans.
Sounders Champions League Results
|8/3/10||El Salvador||Metapan||D||1-0-1||Draw 1-1|
|9/14/10||Costa Rica||Saprissa||L||1-3-1||Saprissa 2-0|
|7/26/11||Panama||San Francisco||L||2-6-1||San Francisco 1-0|
|8/3/11||Seattle||San Francisco||W||3-6-1||Sounders 2-0|
|9/14/11||Costa Rica||Herediano||W||6-6-1||Sounders 2-1|
SOUNDERS STATS / NOTES
HEAD COACH: Sigi Schmidbecame first head coach of Seattle Sounders FC Dec. 16, 2008, and is in his fourth year. Born in Tübingen, Germany, Schmid relocated with his family to the U.S. in 1956, and to Torrance, CA., in 1962. He was a four-year starter at UCLA (1972-75) and graduated with a B.S. degree in economics in 1976.
Schmid later earned a M.A. in business administration from Southern California. A certified public accountant, Schmid coached the Los Angeles Galaxy from 1999 through 2004, winning four major competitions: 2002 MLS Cup, 2002 MLS Supporters Shield, 2001 U.S. Open Cup and the 2001 CONCACAF Champions Cup. He coached the Columbus Crew from 2006-08, winning the MLS Cup in his final season.
In 2009, under Schmid’s direction, the Sounders became the first expansion team to reach the MLS playoffs since the 1998 Chicago Fire. The Sounders also won the U.S. Open Cup in Schmid’s first season. They added their second and third U.S. Open Cup titles in 2010 and 2011.
The Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football is one of six continental confederations of FIFA. CONCACAF serves as the governing body of soccer/football in this part of the world and is composed of 40 national associations, from Canada in the north to Guyana, Surinam and French Guyana in the south.
The winner of the CONCACAF tournament becomes eligible to play in the FIFA Club World Cup. Monterrey is the defending CCL champion, having defeated Santos Laguna 3-2 on aggregate goals in the 2011-12 tournament (Santos eliminated Seattle from the tournament in March).
Formed in 1925 by Eloy Montes, Club Deportivo Marathon is one of the most prestigious clubs in Honduras and is making its fourth CONCACAF Champions League appearance. In its three previous appearances, Honduras reached the quarterfinals (2008-09), quarterfinals (2010-11) and Group Stage (2010-11).
In 2008-09 “El Monstruo Verde” (The Green Monster) won its group, but was upset by the Puerto Rico Islanders in the knockout stage. In 2009-10, Marathon fell to Pumas UNAM of Mexico in the quarterfinals.
HEAD COACH: Manuel Keosseian is a former Uruguayan-Armenian professional footballer who most notably played as a midfielder and manager of Uruguayan side C.A. Peñarol. He has managed Honduras since 2011.
COMING UP: Sounders play their final regular-season MLS match Sunday against the L.A. Galaxy in Carson, CA.
Seattle Sounders FC 2012 Schedule / Results
(15-7-11, 56 points, MLS; 2-0 CCL; 4-1 U.S. Open Cup)
|4/7||^at DC United||4:30||KING||D||0-0||2-1-1|
|5/9||^at FC Dallas||5:30||KONG||W||2-0||7-1-1|
|6/26||&at San Jose||7:30||Webcast||W||1-0||3-0-0|
|6/30||^at New England||4:30||KONG||D||2-2||7-5-5|
|7/15||^at New York||1:00||ESPN||D||2-2||8-5-7|
|8/5||^vs. LA Galaxy||6:00||ESPN2||W||4-0||10-5-7|
|8/8||&at Sport KC||6:00||GolTV||L||2-1||4-1-0|
|8/11||^at San Jose||7:30||KONG||L||2-1||10-6-7|
|9/2||^at FC Dallas||4:00||KING||D||1-1||12-6-8|
|10/21||^vs. FC Dallas||6:00||ESPN||W||3-1||15-7-11|
|10/28||^at LA Galaxy||6:00||ESPN||—||—||—|
*=CONCACAF; ^=Major League Soccer; #=International friendly; &=U.S. Open Cup