CCL: Fucito making most of opportunities for Seattle
GUATEMALA CITY, Guatemala — Whatever Mike Fucito goes on to achieve in his soccer career, the CONCACAF Champions League will always hold a special place in the striker’s heart.
The CCL, and Central American opponents in particular, have provided the platform for the Harvard alum to force his way into Sigi Schmid’s plans. Last season — despite a sputtering group-stage performance in general by the Sounders — Fucito scored three goals in the competition, including a brace against Honduran side Marathón.
He added a couple more in the first group game this year against Guatemala's Comunicaciones. So it stands to reason that the third-year striker, who has recovered from an ankle injury and is available for selection, is eager to hit the field heading into Tuesday’s rematch in Guatemala (10 pm ET; FOX Soccer).
“We know they’re a very good team, and especially playing [at home] they’ll be dangerous,” he said before training on Monday. “Hopefully we can come out and have a little better start against them than we had last time, and put a couple goals away.”
In early August, Comunicaciones took an early lead in Seattle, and the game was still tied when Seattle went down a man early in the second half. But Fucito’s rapid-fire second-half brace propelled the Sounders to victory and launched what has been a very successful group stage to date. That performance also helped earn Fucito a more permanent starting job on the Sounders front line.
“Whenever you get a chance to play like that, it’s always a good deal,” he said. “It gives you a lot of confidence when you’ve played well against a good team like this and done well. Now you look to come in here and do that again.”
Fucito stops short of considering himself a Champions League specialist, particularly in light of his recent exploits in MLS play. He’s bagged a pair of goals in four starts since that breakout CCL match against Comunicaciones last month.
But after taking last Saturday night’s MLS clash in Vancouver off, and in the midst of a congested calendar for the Sounders, it’s a good bet Schmid will be leaning on Fucito to shine in international play again on Tuesday night here. If he does, the striker says he’ll be ready to add to his CCL exploits.
“Whenever you’re given the opportunity you try to make the most out of it, whether it’s MLS, or Champions League,” he said. “I’ve had some success in Champions League, so now we’ll try to continue that.”