Fresh off a 4-0 rampage versus Orlando City Sunday, the Seattle Sounders are set to host reigning Honduras champion C.D. Olimpia in the CONCACAF Champions League at 7 p.m. Wednesday. Seattle will look to pick up three crucial points at home with a long road trip awaiting them next week.
The Sounders kicked off their Champions League campaign with a 1-1 draw against the Vancouver Whitecaps Aug. 5. Lamar Neagle’s goal in that match meant that Seattle holds first place in the three-team Group F, due to the use of away goals as a tie breaker.
C.D. Olimpia makes the almost 4,000 mile trip to Seattle to open their Champions League account with problems in form early on in their league season. The Meringues are winless in three league matches, and will reportedly be without the services of goalkeeper Donis Escobar, though recent returnee from loan Roger Rojas will be with Olimpia.
Sounders center back Zach Scott expects an up tempo style of play from the Central Americans.
“They’re going to keep the ball on the ground, they’re going to play one or two touch,” he said. They’re going to look to control the tempo, so we have to be smart about the way that we play and hit them with our speed. We’ve got a lot of fast guys out there.”
Scott talked about how the group stage matches presented an opportunity for players who don’t normally see the pitch to prove themselves.
“For a lot of guys, it’s an opportunity to play, especially in the early rounds,” he said. “We get a lot of young guys in. A lot of veteran guys who are on the bottom end of the 18 get a chance for minutes. So they’re very competitive games.”
Olimpia’s early-season form and the travel hours could make for a decisive home field advantage for the Sounders, who will look to secure three road points to maintain their position in the group stage as they seek to advance to the knockout rounds.
Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid wants to use the midweek fixture to build up momentum to help the Sounders continue to rise out of their summer slump.
“There’s no team that we can take lightly,” he said. “We have to do what we have to do to build our team up through the stretch that we’ve been on and make sure that we’re ready for this game tomorrow and that we’re ready for the game Saturday.”