The Sounders FC may have an uphill road ahead of them, but advancing out of the group stages of the CONCACAF Champions League is still a reachable goal.
Presently, Monterrey leads the standings with 12 points through four rounds. Marathon and Saprissa both have six points, having both topped the Sounders at home while splitting their two meetings. Seattle, meanwhile is winless with zero points. Two Sounders FC wins against Marathon on Wednesday and Saprissa on October 19 at Qwest Field would give Seattle six points and a shot to advance … if Monterrey also wins both of their remaining games against Saprissa and Marathon.
Seattle could know as soon as Tuesday night if that is still a possibility as Saprissa hosts Monterrey at Estadio Ricardo Saprissa. However, having already virtually sealed a spot in the knockout stages, Monterrey is not expected to field their full squad, including their sparkplug in a 3-2 win against the Sounders last week, Humberto Suazo.
“I don’t think Monterrey is going to come with their best team to Saprissa,” Sounders FC head coach Sigi Schmid said. “They’ll probably leave Suazo at home and a few other guys at home. But they’re still a good team and still very capable of winning there.”
If Monterrey wins both of their matches and Seattle wins both of their matches, the first relevant tiebreaker will be the head-to-head goal differential between the three teams tied at six points. Matches against Monterrey are not considered for the first tiebreaker. Presently, Saprissa (+4) leads the tiebreaker with Marathon (-1) and Seattle (-3) trailing.
The next tiebreaker is goals away from home between the teams involved. If Seattle is able to shutout both teams, they would remain alive in this category too.
At this point, the same criteria (points, goal differential, away goals) would be applied to any teams still tied.
That’s when things start to get complicated … if the results go Seattle’s way on Tuesday and Wednesday night, I’ll explain exactly what needs to happen in the final round of the group stage for Seattle to advance.