When the Sounders FC arrived at the ticket counter at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport on Tuesday morning at 4:30, many were bleary-eyed and prepared to take naps on the first leg of their trip to Trinidad for the CONCACAF Champions League group stage match against Caledonia.
There was, however, one glaring exception.Cordell Cato was grinning ear-to-ear as he toted a large suitcase packed with gifts for his friends and family back in his home country of Trinidad.
“I’m sure it’s special for him to come back as part of the Seattle Sounders to play in Trinidad,” Sounders FC head coach Sigi Schmid said. “For any player to be able to come back home and be in front of friends and family and be able to puff out their chest … it’s always a very proud moment.”
So far, this season, Cato has plenty to puff out his chest about.
He lifted the Sounders to a 1-0 win over the San Jose Earthquakes with his only goal of the US Open Cup, and added two assists in four matches in the tournament, helping the Sounders to their fourth straight Open Cup final.
The Champions League has also proven to be a great opportunity for Cato, too. He started the match on August 2 against Caledonia and played the full 90 minutes, picking up an assist in the match, his first in Champions League.
For a player with one assist in seven appearances off the bench in league play, those outside competitions have proven very beneficial.
Thursday night should be the same as Cato will have a small section of friends and family in the stands at Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva, Trinidad. Schmid anticipates that Cato will have an opportunity to make an impact.
“We expect Cordell to play some important minutes for us,” Schmid said. “When those will be, I’m not exactly quite sure.”
Kickoff is slated for 5 pm Pacific Time with television coverage on Fox Soccer. After facing Caledonia, the Sounders will have two matches left in the group stage of Champions League, both against Marathon from Honduras.