Photo credit: mlssoccer.com
The Seattle Sounders faced off against Honduran power Club Olimpia on Thursday night. The Sounders lost in an extra time shootout by a score of 4-2. The Sounders are eliminated from the CONCACAF Champions League tournament, a tourney they earned a slot by winning the MLS Cup in 2019.
Last week, game 1 was a 2-2 tie marred by poor officiating that should have seen Olimpia awarded a red card with a hard foul on goalie Stefan Frei. That was overlooked and the aggregate score carried over to the game here in Seattle which also ended up in a 2-2 tie. Coach Brian Schmetzer was without star players Nico Lodeiro and Yeimar Gomez Andrade and with a set of games essentially played in the offseason there could be a case made for excuses, but coach Schmetzer wanted no part of it.
“It’s not that hard [regarding fitness],” Schmetzer said. “There’s a lot of work that went into this preseason [with CCL in mind] and it seems like it’s wasted. Now, that might help us in the regular season, who knows, but there was a lot of work that was done in both phases of camp down in California and certainly down in Mexico City that’s gone wasted. The guys worked hard.”
The Rave Green would dig a hole early allowing a 4th minute goal. Christian Roldan and newcomer Joao Paulo each had a goal, but a heart-breaking 86th minute equalizer by Carlos Pineda would send it to extra time where the Sounders would lose in a shoot out.
Late in the game, the Sounders defense showed the cracks in the armor as an almost entirely new cast allowed two goals by Yustin Arboleda including a heartbreaking 81st minute header that would tie the game.
There is a certain swag and prominence that comes with representing the MLS in the Champions League and for the Sounders to get bounced in the 1st round, there is a certain amount of remorse for losing this series; however, there are positives to take away from this as it is the cold water to the face that will focus the Rave Green on their drive to a 3rd MLS Championship.
“I think you have to look at it as a wake-up call, try to learn from it and see what we did well,” Frei said. “I think we did some things well today, but obviously quite a few things we could do much, much better at. So, we have to utilize that and now put our energy and focus towards the season.”
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