In the midst of a three-game slump, Seattle Sounders FC needs to break out of it today against San Francisco FC to stay in the CONCACAF Champions League.
Following the disconcerting 7-0 loss to Manchester United, the Sounders flew to Panama to play against San Francisco on July 26 in the first of a two-game qualifying phase for the group stage.
However, the Sounders fell again, this time 1-0 on a penalty kick in the first half.
The streak grew with a 3-1 loss Saturday at Houston.
Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid said that getting a positive result against San Francisco is important for regaining confidence.
“Certainly a win will help that immensely,” he said. “That’s something we need to get just to help our own confidence level. The last 10 games in league we went 6-1-3, so if we can go 6-1-3 in the next 10 games we’ll be happy. It’s just a matter of re-establishing ourselves. We’re still a good team, still the same group of players.”
San Francisco FC was established in 1971 and has since won seven Liga Panamena de Futbol championships.
Currently, the squad features four past or present Panamanian international squad selections: Rolando Algandona Tejada, Martin Gomez, Jose Luis Garces Rivera and Eybir Bonaga Cerrud.
Because away goals are used as the tiebreaker, the Sounders must win by two goals or more to advance from the qualifying stage. If the Sounders lead 1-0 at the end of regulation, the game will go into extra time.
If the Sounders prevail, they’ll have a tough task waiting for them in Group D of the tournament with defending champion Monterrey (Mexico), Comunicaciones (Guatemala), and more than likely Herediano (Costa Rica), which beat Alpha United (Guyana) 8-0 in the first leg of their qualifier.
Schmid said the first half was good against San Francisco, but his players need to play a full 90 minutes.
“It’s more a situation of that we just relaxed a little bit, and we can’t relax,” Schmid said. “We have to make sure to stay focused on what we do well, and all the players need to be focused and concentrated the whole time.”
On the injury front, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado trained with the reserves Monday, and Schmid said he felt good. … O’Brian White had a full training session with the first team. … Terry Boss remains out with a concussion for another three to six days.
Chris Wells: 253-597-8680 firstname.lastname@example.org
SOUNDERS FC VS. SAN FRANCISCO FC (PANAMA)
7 p.m., Xbox Pitch at CenturyLink Field, Seattle
TV: Fox Soccer Channel. RADIO: 97.3-FM
Notes: CONCACAF Champions League is the club championship of North America, Central America and the Caribbean. The winner of this tournament represents CONCACAF in the 2012 FIFA Club World Cup, along with the winners from the Copa Libertadores (South America), UEFA Champions League (Europe), AFC Champions League (Asia), CAF Champions League (Africa), OFC Champions League (Oceania) and the qualifier of the host nation, which will be Japan. … This will be a 3,865-mile trip for San Francisco and will be its first visit to the Emerald City.
Next: The Sounders fly to Kansas City to face Sporting KC in a return to MLS play at 5:30 p.m. Saturday.
Chris Wells, staff writer