Champions League is appropriately named. You have to be a champion to play with champions. ”If you ain’t first, you’re last”. As Will Ferrell said, playing Ricky Bobby, in Talladega Nights. The Winners League doesn’t have that same, ah yes, “joie de vivre”. It’s called Champions League, ‘cuz it’s only for teams that raise trophies.
In soccer, when you win a trophy in any significant competition, you earn the right to celebrate with pride. Fans can be certain there will be time and place to be pompous and boast their clubs achievements. For Sounders FC’s faithful, a win tomorrow over Herediano means a chance to put that braggadocio on an espresso train, and punch their ticket to the Champions League Quarterfinals.
When in Seattle. Opportunities for Sounders FC boasting, like rainy fall days are coming in quick succession. Victories in upcoming matches may bring pouring buckets of loud celebration. Sounders are one win from clinching a third consecutive US Open Cup. One win from clinching a third consecutive Major League Soccer playoff appearance. One win from clinching a first ever appearance in the CONCACAF Champions League Quarterfinals.
Two consecutive US Open Cup championships have placed Seattle in the think of their FIFA global soccer region’s Champions League over the last two years. (CONCACAF – Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football)
Wining once in all six Champions League Group Stage matches last year, who would have thought Sounders FC would be the only club with three wins in three matches in this years Champions League. A fourth win tomorrow advances them to the Quarterfinals in only their third year in Major League Soccer. No trophy is given for that accomplishment, but it’s a great opportunity to boast about.
Tomorrow will be the second time Sounders FC and CS Herediano have faced off in six days. Last Wednesday, Sounders traveled to Costa Rica, and on the strength of two Montero goals they outlasted Herediano 2-1.
Three significant lineup changes for tomorrow will force Sounders coach, Sigi Schmid to be creative with his choices. Depth should give the Sounders the fill-in pieces needed to keep their winning chances from dropping off. Mauro Rosales, will miss due to a knee injury suffered in last Saturday’s 3-nil win over DC United. His MRI results should be known by weeks end. Alvaro Fernandez, will miss due to yellow-card accumulation. With games coming quickly and little time to recuperate in between, Kasey Keller will rest tomorrow. Normally, his spot would be covered by Terry Boss. Boss suffered a second concussion during recent international play, allowing for the Sounders third Keeper, Joshua Ford to make his first appearance. To keep their depth chart at three for the Keeper position, the Sounders have brought in Bryan Meredith from the Kitsap Pumas.
Any team that has reached a championship and hoisted a trophy, has had to overcome diverse challenges. Mauro Rosales’s injury will be a big one for Sounders FC. Already without Steve Zakuani and O’Brian White for the rest of the season, the loss of Rosales presents another difficult obstacle for Seattle. The extent of his injury is yet to be determined. In the meantime, Sounders FC will have to prove their roster’s quality and depth.
One thing is certain, a victory tomorrow, and Sounders will prove their poise even above experience. A measure of a clubs grit and determination for becoming a champion. A champion worth boasting about loudly, and for a long time.
© 2011 Sales on Sounders by Ryan J Sales