CHESTER, Pa. – As a second-year player on the Philadelphia Union, Keon Daniel has seen the Seattle Sounders enough to know how good of a team they are.
But the Trinidad and Tobago International also knows a thing or two about Seattle’s first opponent in CONCACAF Champions League play, Caledonia AIA. After all, he played with the Trinidadian club for three seasons before coming to MLS.
Seattle host Caledonia on Thursday (10 pm ET, Fox Soccer), before facing them in Trinidad and Tobago on Aug. 30.
“I think they will match them up because back home, we play the same style as Seattle plays,” Daniel told MLSsoccer.com. “And most of the guys that play for Caledonia, they were on the [T&T] national team, so they have some experience. They watch Seattle play a lot back home. I think they’re going to do well.”
According to Daniel, Caledonia – who qualified for this year’s Champions League by capturing their first-ever Caribbean Football Union Club Championship – like to string together lots of passes and try to control possession.
That style suited the midfielder very well when he played for them from 2008-10, before going to the Puerto Rico Islanders and then signing with the Philadelphia Union in time for the 2011 MLS season.
“They were a great team to play for,” said Daniel, who’s made 20 career starts for the Union, logging two goals and two assists. “The type of player I am, I like to keep the ball a lot. And that’s a team that loves to keep the ball on the ground and play.”
Daniel doesn’t know everyone on this Caledonia squad but is still familiar with some of their players, including his cousin, the speedy Trevin Caesar. And he’s confident that if they work hard, they can make a CCL run and represent his home country well.
“Seattle’s tough,” Daniel said. “But that’s what football is about. It’s about the toughness and it’s about getting it done.”
Dave Zeitlin covers the Union for MLSsoccer.com. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org