Game: Seattle Sounders Football Club vs. Club Santos Laguna S.A. de C.V.
Date: Tuesday, September 14th
Time: 10:00 p.m. Eastern, 9:00 p.m. Central, 7:00 p.m. Pacific, 2:00 a.m. UTC
Venue: Lumen Field (Seattle, Wash.)
All-time record: Santos and the Sounders have met four times before in two two-legged Concacaf Champions League series. Neither series went well for Seattle, with Santos winning the 2011-12 CCL Quarterfinals 7-3 on aggregate and then winning the 2012-13 CCL Semifinals 2-1 on aggregate.
Santos Laguna continues on their quest to add more silverware to the hall in Estadio Corona when they face the Seattle Sounders of Major League Soccer in the semifinal of the 2021 Leagues Cup. It’s a quest they’re taking seriously, as this would be the first international title for Santos. “For us, it is very important,” Manager Guillermo Almada said in a press conference Monday night, adding that Santos was taking the opportunity to go to the Final “seriously.”
Defender Matheus Dória echoed those sentiments, saying “an international tournament is going to be good for us. Playing for an international medal is very important for all of the players, for the club.”
“We know how important (an international tournament) is,” Dória added, noting “(we have) two games to become champions (that) we need to win.”
Almada will have Fernando Gorriarán, Félix Torres, and Diego Valdés at his disposal as the three return from international duty, having missed Santos’ 2-1 loss at Tijuana on Friday night. They’ll need to put aside the long travel schedules from South America to Seattle to re-integrate into squad for a Tuesday game that will test the stamina of those who flew from Tijuana.
Seattle meanwhile comes in hot, having won five of their last six including a 3-0 win against Tigres in the quarterfinal round of the Leagues Cup. Only two of the wins however came against teams in playoff position in MLS, which sends its top seven teams from each conference. Those two wins came against Minnesota United, who have just one in in their last five games, and archrivals Portland Timbers, who lost to Seattle 6-2 in Portland but turned around two weeks later and beat the Sounders 2-0 in Seattle.
While Santos fans might not be familiar with many of the Sounders players, a couple of the Santos players are a bit more familiar with some of the Sounders players. Seattle forward Nicolás Lodeiro has been on the Uruguay National Team with Brian Lozano, during a couple of World Cup Qualification cycles back in 2015. For a deeper cut, Seattle’s Xavier Arreaga was teammates with Félix Torres both on the Ecuador National Team and at Barcelona S.C. And while the pair were at the Ecuadoran giants, they were managed by none other than current Santos manager Guillermo Almada, and Arreaga and Almada won the Ecuadoran Serie A in 2016 (Torres joined the following season).
Seattle is the only MLS team remaining in the competition, however this may be the only time where the pressure is on everyone else. Historically, MLS has fared very poorly in head-to-head competition, and while it’s become somewhat more common as more competitions are played, no Liga MX team wants to be the team that loses to an MLS team.