CCL Preview vs Caledonia Image

Who is Caledonia AIA?

Tracking down video of Caledonia AIA from Trinidad, Seattle’s first opponents in the 2012-2013 tournament, is an exercise in futility.

The Sounders FC prides itself on its preparation.

The coaching staff pores over video for hours leading up to each match, trying to find the best examples of clips that the team can use to scout out the opposition.

One of the greatest challenges of the CONCACAF Champions League is tracking down video of the teams involved. In the case of Caledonia AIA from Trinidad, Seattle’s first opponents in the 2012-2013 tournament, no such video exists.

“They’re probably the team right now going into the Champions League that we’re going into the most blind,” Sounders FC head coach Sigi Schmid said. “They are not in their season yet. They’ve changed their roster, so they have different personnel than they had. We’ve seen clips of past games that they’ve had, but a lot of those are with players that aren’t on the team right now.”

Not even Trinidad-native Cordell Cato could offer much insight into the club.

“I really don’t know much about them. They’re just from my home, but I’m going to be new to the team like everybody else,” said Cato, who played for San Juan Jabloteh and Defence Force in Trinidad before coming to the Sounders in the offseason. “All the teams play differently, but the main thing is you try to keep the ball, pass the ball and maintain possession and build from there.”

The Sounders have been able to garner some notes about their first opponent, but will largely be relying on their own abilities to get them through their first Champions League tilt of the tournament.

Caledonia qualified for the tournament by winning the 2012 Caribbean Football Union Championship in June. It will be their first appearance in the Champions League.

For Seattle, it will be the third straight year they have appeared in the tournament, qualifying each year they were eligible.

They hope to exceed their success from last year, when they reached the quarterfinals before falling to Mexico’s Santos Laguna.

This year, the tournament is much more condensed than previous years. With just four matches in the group stage, as opposed to the six group stage matches and two preliminary round matches the Sounders played in previous years, there is a greater impetus put on each match.

“The main important thing for us is to get the three points at home,” Schmid said. “You want to get three points at home.”

Kickoff is set for 7 pm Pacific Time with television coverage on Fox Soccer and the radio broadcast on 97.3 KIRO FM.

Tickets for the match are available by calling 877-MLS-GOAL or visiting Tickets start as low as $15.