Sounders aim to get season going with a win over Tigres

Despite being in its infancy, the 2013 season for the Sounders has a lot riding on the early stages.

Sounders FC vs. Tigres UANL
March 12, 7 pm PT, CenturyLink Field
TV/Radio: Fox Soccer/KIRO radio 97.3
Tigres UANL’s Record: 7-0-3 in 2013 Clausura; 3-0-2 in 2012-2013 CONCACAF Champions League; 5-6-6 in 2012 Apertura.

The Sounders FC season has barely begun and already they are on the cusp of greatness.

They may find themselves trailing 1-0 to Tigres UANL in the quarterfinals of the CONCACAF Champions League with the second leg of the series at CenturyLink Field, but they also know they are in a competitive position to advance to the CCL semifinals for the first time in club history and would also make history as the first MLS club to eliminate a Mexican side from the Champions League knockout round if they are able to advance on Tuesday night.

“We’ve always said we want to win trophies, so this would be a stepping stone on the way,” Sounders FC owner and general manager Adrian Hanauer said. “It’d be a big one, getting past a team like Tigres – the best team in Mexico today – but we have our work cut out for us.”

To advance in the aggregate-goals series, the Sounders need to win by two goals on Tuesday, or they can force overtime by winning the match 1-0. It’s certainly no easy task, though, as Tigres hasn’t lost since October 27, 2012 – a span of 13 matches. Though they didn’t bring several starters, Tigres has had plenty of success no matter the lineup on the pitch.

Because of that, the Sounders will have to be on their game if they hope to advance. That means correcting the mistakes that led to an 18-3 shot discrepancy in the first leg of the series.

“We haven’t been dangerous enough consistently and we need to have effective play in the wide areas of the field as well. But we’re still getting our rhythm and it will get better,” head coach Sigi Schmid said. “We have to do a better job of possessing the ball. If we hold on to the ball more, we make them adjust to us a little bit more. We have to do a better job of putting pressure on them so we have the opportunity to recover the ball.”

Forward Eddie Johnson takes that demanding approach a step further.

To Johnson, it has to be about execution. It has to be about technique. But most importantly, it has to be about desire.

“We’ve got to go out there for the win. We have to play smart football. Everyone has to want the ball, everyone has to be confident on the ball, everyone has to be comfortable on the ball,” Johnson said. “The more guys we can have on the ball, the more guys wanting the ball and the more we can dictate the game and put it on our terms, the better it is for us. These are the big games. These are the games that we all dream of.”

Kickoff for Tuesday’s match is scheduled for 7pm PT, with television coverage on Fox Soccer and the radio broadcast on KIRO Radio 97.3. Tickets are available at SoundersFC.com or by calling 800-745-3000.

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