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)
- Thursday, Aug. 2: Sounders FC 3, Caledonia 1 (CenturyLink)
- Thursday, Aug. 30: Sounders FC 3, Caledonia 1 (Trinidad)
- Wednesday, Sept. 19: Sounders FC 3, CD Marathon 2 (Honduras)
- Wednesday, Oct. 24: CD Marathon at Sounders (CenturyLink)
|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|
- Seattle is 10-9-2 all-time in Champions League play, including 6-4-0 at CenturyLink Field.
- Seattle has played the second-most Champions League games (21) of any MLS team since qualifying for the 2010-11 tournament. Seattle's 21 CCL games are two fewer than Toronto FC (22). LA Galaxy is third with 18 and Real Salt Lake is next at 14.
- Evans was the league's Player of the Week Monday after Evans scored two goals in the 3-1 victory over FC Dallas Sunday. Evans is the third Sounder named Player of the Week, following David Estrada and Eddie Johnson (twice).
- Sounders are one of three teams to qualify for the MLS Cup playoffs each of the past four seasons (also LA Galaxy and Real Salt Lake).
- Sounders have played the most matches (173) across all competitions since entering MLS in 2009. The team will play 45 matches through the end of the 2012 regular season, second to Toronto FC (46).
- Sounders are on pace for the best goals against average (0.97) in franchise history, set in 2009 when the team allowed 29 goals in 30 games.
- The shutout against Real Salt Lake last week was the club's 12th, breaking the franchise record (11) set in 2010.
- Three matches have ended in a scoreless draw for Sounders FC this season, two of which were against Real Salt Lake, Seattle's first-round playoff opponent.
- Michael Gspurning leads MLS with a 0.72 goals against average, which is third-best in MLS history. No goalkeeper from outside of the CONCACAF region has led the league in single-season goals against average.
- Mauro Rosales ranks third in MLS with 13 assists and is tied for first with five game-winning assists. Seattle improved to 8-0-4 when Rosales scores or assists.
- Eddie Johnson is tied-fifth in the Budweiser Golden Boot Race with 14 goals and Fredy Montero is tied-seventh with 13 goals.
- Sounders are 6-2-3 when Christian Tiffert plays, outscoring opponents 23-8.
- Sounders have not lost consecutive MLS games in 65 outings (33-12-20), the longest stretch in league history.
- Seattle has the second fewest losses (7) in MLS this season.
- Sounders are 14-0-3 when scoring first. Seattle's current 31-game unbeaten streak (25-0-6) when scoring first is the second-longest active streak in MLS (New York - 56).
- Head coach Sigi Schmid has fielded 30 starting lineups in 30 matches.
- David Estrada has been named the Sounders FC Humanitarian of the Year.
- Assistant Brian Schmetzer is 2-0 in his career as an interim head coach after guiding the Sounders past FC Dallas Sunday. Schmetzer took over for Schmid, suspended for the Portland match after making comments critical of referee Ricardo Salazar.
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.ABOUT CONCACAFThe 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).ABOUT HONDURASFormed 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||---||---||---|