CCL: Seattle take scouting to new heights ahead of clash

Seattle's Adrian Hanauer and Sigi Schmid

Photo Credit: 
Courtesy of Seattle Sounders FC

TUKWILA, Wash. – When scouting a team like Caledonia AIA, sometimes the normal outlets simply aren’t sufficient.

Seattle Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid said they were forced to scour the Internet to find information about their opponent for their CONCACAF Champions League opener on Thursday night at CenturyLink Field (10 pm ET, Fox Soccer).

“We’ve done a lot of digging, spent a lot of time on the Internet looking at different things,” Schmid said. “We’ve looked a lot of YouTube videos and stuff like that trying to get as much information.”

At least from the players’ perspective, the coaching staff apparently did a pretty decent job of finding film.

“We try to prepare like we do for every other MLS team,” Sounders goalkeeper Michael Gspurning said, crediting assistant coach Brian Schmetzer with doing most of the hard work. “It’s not easy to find stuff about teams from Trinidad. But he prepares us perfectly. There is no difference for us from a game like Sunday [against the LA Galaxy].

"We have to be very thankful for this help. Anything can happen in the game, but if you’re a little bit prepared how to play, it makes it easier.”

In a world where anyone can find out almost anything about countless players around the world with the press of a few buttons, Gspurning said this is exactly the kind of thing that makes Champions League so interesting.

“I was sitting in Europe and was thinking, ‘Hey we’ll go to Costa Rica or Trinidad somewhere and maybe you play in places you’ve never seen before,’” the Austrian said. “This is also a side of soccer and also a part that I want to see.

"I know that not everything will be perfect on the away games – long trips and everything – but it’s part of soccer for what I was dreaming as a child. It’s a great experience to go to these countries and see the different styles. It’s a target to show them that American soccer is better than the rest of the continent.”

Further complicating matters for the Sounders is that Thursday’s game is the first of three rather important matches to be played in the matter of about a week.

That the Sounders have already been forced to use 26 different starting lineups in their 27 competitive matches should help them prepare for this kind of congestion.

“It’s a situation where different people have to step up,” Schmid said. “But we’re healthy and we always thought that when we’re healthy that we could rotate some people onto the field without it impacting our ability or our quality of play. I think that’s an important thing. There will be some guys that will be carrying a big load over this time but then some guys will able to alternate as well and stay fresh.”

Jeremiah Oshan covers the Seattle Sounders for MLSsoccer.com and SB Nation.