Press Release

Sounders FC Falls 1-0 to Al Ahly SC at the FIFA Club World Cup in Morocco

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TANGIER, MOROCCO – Sounders FC fell 1-0 to Egyptian side Al Ahly SC on Saturday evening in the second round of the FIFA Club World Cup. As the first American side to appear in the intercontinental club championship, the Rave Green bow out after Al Ahly found the winner 88th minute courtesy of Mohamad Afsha. Al Ahly now advances to face reigning European champion Real Madrid on Wednesday, February 8 in the Moroccan capital of Rabat, with the winner moving on to the FIFA Club World Cup Final on February 11.

Al Ahly got the game-winning goal in the dying minutes of the second half. A rebounded shot off the crossbar was taken from outside the area by Al Ahly’s Afsha, which deflected off Seattle’s Alex Roldan and found its way into the back of the net for the late 1-0 lead.

Midfielder João Paulo made his return from injury for the Rave Green in the 68th minute of play after suffering a torn right ACL on May 4 of last season in Seattle’s continental championship-clinching win over Liga MX’s Pumas.

Following Seattle’s run at the FIFA Club World Cup, the club begins its 2023 MLS regular-season campaign against the Colorado Rapids on Sunday, February 26 at 5:00 p.m. PT on the Emerald Queen Casino Pitch at Lumen Field.

MATCH NOTES

  • Today’s match marked the first official contest of Seattle’s 2023 campaign, with the club competing in the FIFA Club World Cup for the first time in team history. Sounders FC qualified for the intercontinental club championship by becoming the first MLS team to win the Concacaf Champions League, a feat the Rave Green accomplished with a 5-2 aggregate win over Liga MX side Pumas in last spring’s CCL Final. 
  • Following the loss, Al Ahly advances to face reigning European champion Real Madrid on Wednesday, February 8 in the Moroccan capital of Rabat. No team has won a greater number of FIFA Club World Cup titles than Real Madrid, with four (2014, 2016-2018). The winner of Wednesday’s contest moves on to the FIFA Club World Cup Final on February 11.
  • Saturday’s match marked Seattle’s first-ever game against African opposition, with Al Ahly playing in its eighth FIFA Club World Cup. A perennial standout in the Confederation of African Football Champions League, the Egyptian club owns 42 domestic league titles and 10 continental championships.
  • Domestically, Al Ahly is currently atop the Egyptian Premier League with an unbeaten record of 11-0-4.
  • In addition to Sounders FC (Concacaf / USA) and Al Ahly (CAF / Egypt), the remainder of the FIFA Club World Cup field is comprised of Real Madrid (UEFA / Spain), Flamengo (CONMEBOL / Brazil), Auckland City (Oceania Football Confederation / New Zealand), Al-Hilal (Asian Football Confederation / Saudi Arabia) and Wydad AC (CAF / Morocco).
  • Earlier on Saturday in Rabat, Saudi Arabia’s Al-Hilal defeated Moroccan side Wydad 5-3 on penalties following a 1-1 deadlock, with the winner set to face Brazilian power Flamengo in the tournament’s other semifinal matchup on February 7.
  • Head Coach Brian Schmetzer deployed a 4-2-3-1 formation in his first starting XI of the 2023 season. Stefan Frei led a backline composed of Alex Roldan, Yeimar Gómez Andrade, Jackson Ragen and Nouhou, with Josh Atencio and Albert Rusnák anchoring central midfield. Cristian Roldan, Nicolás Lodeiro and Jordan Morris led the attack, with Raúl Ruidíaz reprising his starting striker role.
  • Seattle midfielder João Paulo made his return from injury for the Rave Green in the 68th minute of play, replacing Atencio in central midfield. The Brazilian suffered a torn Anterior Cruciate Ligament in his right knee on May 4 of last season in Seattle’s continental championship-clinching win over Liga MX’s Pumas.
  • Sounders FC now looks toward opening its 2023 MLS regular-season campaign against the Colorado Rapids on Sunday, February 26 at 5:00 p.m. PT on the Emerald Queen Casino Pitch at Lumen Field.

MATCH SUMMARY

Seattle Sounders FC 0 – Al Ahly SC 1

Saturday, February 4, 2023

Venue: Stade Ibn-Batouta, Tangier, Morocco 

Referee: Anthony Taylor

Assistants: Gary Beswick, Adam Nunn

Fourth Official: Ning Ma

VAR: Jerome Brisard

Attendance: 30,589

Weather: 60 degrees and clear

SCORING SUMMARY

ASC – Afsha 88’

MISCONDUCT SUMMARY

ASC – Percy Tau (caution) 59’

LINEUPS & STATS

Seattle Sounders FC – Stefan Frei; Alex Roldan, Yeimar, Jackson Ragen (Fredy Montero 90’+1’), Nouhou; Josh Atencio (João Paulo 68’), Albert Rusnák (Héber 90’+1’), Cristian Roldan (Danny Leyva 84’), Nico Lodeiro, Jordan Morris; Raúl Ruidíaz 

Substitutes not used: Stefan Cleveland, Jacob Castro, Xavier Arreaga, Abdoulaye Cissoko, Kelyn Rowe, Ethan Dobbelaere, Dylan Teves, Léo Chú

Total shots: 12

Shots on goal: 2

Fouls: 6

Offside: 0

Corner-kicks: 5

Saves: 0

Al Ahly SC – Mohamed El Shenawy; Mohamed Hany, Mahmoud Metwaly, Mohamed Abdelmonem, Ali Maâloul; Aliou Dieng, Percy Tau (Ramy Rabia 90’+3’), Hamdi Fathi (Afsha 64’), Amr El Soleya, Taher Mohamed (Ahmed Abdelkader 63’); Kahraba (Mohamed Sherif 63’)

Substitutes not used: Ali Lotfi, Mohamed Fakhri, Khaled Abdelfattah, Mohamed Ashraf, H. El Shahat, Yasser Ibrahim, M. Attia, Hamza Alaa

Total shots: 9

Shots on goal: 1

Fouls: 15

Offside: 1

Corner-kicks: 2

Saves: 2

                                                                         - SOUNDERS FC -

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