CCL Preview: Seattle determined to improve upon 2010

Losing never sits well with professional athletes, and it certainly hasn’t with the Seattle Sounders.

With the sting of only one win in six group stage matches from last season’s CONCACAF Champions League still fresh, Sigi Schmid’s team aims to better that mark in 2011, starting with the first group-stage game against CSD Comunicaciones of Guatemala on Tuesday night (10 pm ET, Fox Soccer).

The match comes on short rest after Saturday’s home game against Chivas USA, but Seattle caught a break by opening the group stage at CenturyLink Field. While the preparations will be hurried, Schmid believes his team will learn enough about its opponents to put in a strong effort.

“As coaches we know more about them right now than the players know so it’s a little bit of a crash course, but they will be ready,” Schmid said. “Obviously some of the guys for Guatemala played on their Gold Cup team, so they saw some of those games. They have an awareness and we will show them some videotape as well.”

With a challenging away match against FC Dallas looming on Saturday, it’s likely that a few starters will be rested Tuesday against the Guatemalan club. Schmid wouldn’t budge about how he would deploy his forces during the two-match week, saying only that both contests were “important” and that he wants to win both.

According to one Sounder, it’s a safe bet there’ll be least a few new faces in the starting XI.

“We’ve been told that we are going to use our depth for this tournament and I think that’s smart,” defender Tyson Wahl said last week. “It’s draining if one group plays six times in 18 days. We’ve proven that we have the depth through the Reserve League and the Open Cup, so I’m glad to hear that guys will be getting mixed in.”

While Schmid will characteristically keep Tuesday’s starting lineup private, one player who won’t be available is O’Brian White. The forward has suffered a setback in his return from a blood clot—the club’s medical staff is currently mulling over possible treatment options.

White had been very close to making a full return, having started Seattle’s Reserve League match last week at Vancouver. While it is not yet known how long White will be out, his absence is magnified by Seattle’s inability to add a striker within the now-shut summer transfer window.

“Right now there are different options,” Schmid said of White’s condition. “They are trying to determine which one is the best option as to how to proceed.”

Andrew Winner covers the Seattle Sounders for MLSsoccer.com. Follow him on Twitter @AndrewWinnerMLS