[CONCACAF CHAMPIONS LEAGUE] Just how precarious is a 1-0 lead for an away leg in Central America on just a few days rest? Two MLS teams are about to find out.
Seattle holds a slim edge over Salvadoran club Isidro Metapan and Toronto FC is a goal up on Honduran foe Motagua in the Concacaf Champions League preliminary round, which continues Tuesday. The winners advance to a four-team group that starts play later this month.
The Sounders traveled to San Salvador (through Houston) Sunday morning after beating San Jose, 1-0, the day before at Buck Shaw Stadium with a Fredy Montero goal. TFC headed south to Honduras on a charter flight from Kansas City, where it lost, 1-0, on Saturday.
“We know we can get at them down the flanks, we know we can play against them, so our belief in ourselves should be good,” said Sounders coach Sigi Schmid of the first leg won with another goal by Montero. “We just have to deal with playing outside of the country and everything that comes with that.”
Isidro Metapan’s stadium doesn’t meet lighting standards for international matches, so the game will be played at the national stadium, Estadio Cuscatlan, in the capital of San Salvador.
“They have to open their game up a lot more then they opened up the game at our place,” says Schmid. “I feel very confident that we have the ability to score a goal against them. If we score one goal against them, they have score three to knock us out. I don’t think we’re going to give up even two, but they’ve got to open up and score, and that will open up space for us to attack.”
Against the Quakes, Montero played the ball wide to Sanny Nyassi from midfield, then steamed into the box unmarked to head home Nyassi’s cross. Schmid believes such opportunities can be created against Metapan, as occurred in the first leg.
“The national stadium is a huge field -- it’s got to be 80 yards wide -- so there’s a lot of space to play there,” says Schmid. “They certainly played defensively against us and we also learned that we can get at them. They had trouble containing Sanny. [After the San Jose game] he told me, ‘Yeah, I saw [Montero], I picked him out.’ He hit a great cross tonight and if he would have done that in the first game, we probably would have scored two goals in the first 20 minutes.”
Toronto managed a Chad Barrett goal a week ago against Motagua at a windy BMO Field. Forward Georgie Welcome, who tormented the TFC defense numerous times in the first leg, has gone on trial with Glasgow Rangers and won’t play in Game 2.
Both games will air on Fox Soccer Channel. Motagua and Toronto kick off at 8 p.m. ET with Metapan-Seattle following at 10 p.m.