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Stunned Sounders aim to reverse fortunes against Santos
by Paul Kennedy, April 2nd, 2013 12:38AM
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TAGS:  concacaf champions league, mexico, seattle sounders

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[CONCACAF CHAMPIONS LEAGUE] The Seattle Sounders have won just one of six competitive games in 2013, but it was a historic triumph. The 3-1 win gave the Sounders a 4-3 series triumph over Tigres, marking the first time an MLS club had beaten a Mexican team in the knockout phase of the Concacaf Champions League. Unlike Tigres, which took a "B" team to Seattle and paid the price, Santos has learned that lesson and will bring its "A" team that includes Herculez Gomez Tuesday night for the first leg of the semifinals.

Seattle is coming off its worst performance of the season -- a 2-1 loss at Real Salt Lake.

The Sounders' problems have been with their backline, and Tuesday's test will be all the most difficult because Austrian keeper Michael
Gspurning was booked for time-wasting in the second Tigres match and is suspended on Tuesday for yellow-card accumulation.

Marcus Hahnemann will make his second career start for the MLS Sounders on Tuesday -- more than 18 years after he first signed with the A-League Sounders.

Hahnemann admits the 0-3-1 start in MLS has stunned the Sounders.

"We cruised through most of the games," he told Seattle media. "The first team, switching, young team, switching, and with all the personnel changes. And we thought we were cruising. And maybe that’s what happened: It was all a little bit too easy. And you come in to the start of the season and everything has been a grind. We haven’t had any luck."

The last time Seattle and Santos squared off was in last year's quarterfinals where a 6-1 Santos victory in Torreon reserved a 2-1 Sounders win in Seattle.

Hahnemann says the match should be looked as an opportunity for the Sounders to turn their season around.

"I know sometimes the cup games are a distraction and everyone dreads them," he added, "but now we’re just kind of sitting in last place, and sometimes you need these things to maybe just give us a little jump start to our season.”

-- The game will also mark the Concacaf debut of recent Nigerian signing Obafemi Martins.

-- The other American on the Santos roster is U.S. U-20 Benji Joya.



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