Feb. 23, 10 pm ET (FS1, Sportsnet World)
Seattle Sounders vs. Club América
CenturyLink Field, Seattle, Washington
2015-16 CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals, first leg
The Seattle Sounders face perhaps the toughest test of any of the four MLS teams left in the CCL, as the club will host defending tournament champions Club América in the first leg of their quarterfinal series on Tuesday night.
If facing off against the Mexican giants wasn’t tough enough, Seattle will have to do it without perhaps their best player from the past three years: Obafemi Martins. Although the Sounders have not officially announced his reported sale to Shanghai Shenhua, Martins has bid goodbye to Sounders fans and is no longer with the club in preseason camp. The club will need to quickly figure out how to fill the void created by his absence if they’re to have any shot at advancing past América.
Ballyhooed US international Jordan Morris, who signed a Homegrown contract with Seattle this winter, will likely be inserted into the starting lineup for Martins. The 21-year-old is no stranger to big games, but replacing the experienced Martins in what will be his first professional match will be a huge task. Fellow attackers Clint Dempsey, Nelson Valdez and Andreas Ivanschitz will need to help him shoulder the load if the Sounders want to head to the series’ second leg at Estadio Azteca with a fighting chance.
América currently sit in fourth place in Liga MX with 11 points through six games. Las Aguilas will have to deal with a tricky bit of schedule congestion heading into Tuesday’s contest, however, as they’re set for a huge match against Mexico City rivals Cruz Azul on Saturday night. How head coach Ignacio "Nacho" Ambriz manages his roster on Saturday, and how well the club deals with the lengthy flight to Seattle, will go a long way in shaping how things look at CenturyLink Field on Tuesday.
- Seattle Sounders: Sans Martins, Seattle enter quarters looking to upset champs
- Club América: América set to take on the adjusting Sounders
Series Pick 'Em
"Jordan Morris is the Kwisatz Haderach" -- Matt Doyle
"The defending champs still have all their outstanding pieces while the Sounders do not, thanks to Martins' departure. The absence of Oba and the change of formation will be too much for Seattle to overcome." -- Ben Baer
CCL News & Analysis
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- CCL Opponent Watch: No winners in Liga MX in leadup to quarters
- Trophy wars: Which continental trophy would you like to lift?
- How much to MLS and Liga MX styles of play differ?
- Who are the best players to play in both MLS and Liga MX?
- Is another CCL series victory vs. Liga MX on the cards for MLS teams?
- How to watch and follow the CCL quarterfinals
- Should we expect MLS teams to get results in Mexico?
- What is the CCL and why does it matter?