After securing a road point against Vancouver Whitecaps FC in its first match of the 2015-2016 CONCACAF Champions League, Sounders FC has another challenging task on Wednesday.
Seattle will host fellow Group F side CD Olimpia, the most successful team from Honduras and a perennial SCCL participant. A club that features numerous members of the Honduran National Team, Olimpia has won 29 league titles, including a victory in the 64-team Honduran Cup this past spring. Olimpia proved during the 2014-15 SCCL that it could compete with MLS teams, advancing to the knockout stage by virtue of a 3-1 win over the Portland Timbers.
Sounders FC would go atop Group F with a win or draw on Wednesday night. Head Coach Sigi Schmid says the club has some idea of what to expect from its Central American opponent.
“We have a little bit of tape that we’ve looked at, and [Assistant Coach Kurt Schmid] has seen them play,” he said. “We know they haven’t gotten off to a good start in their league, but that doesn’t mean anything. Champions League is a whole different ball of wax.”
Olimpia is 0-3-0 to start its season, the team’s first three-game losing streak in 14 years. However, the Honduran side could be rejuvenated for Wednesday night’s match, as star striker Roger Rojas is back with Olimpia after spending last season on loan at Mexican club Necaxa.
Rojas, who has yet to appear in a game this year, has scored 72 career goals for Olimpia and earned 24 caps with the Honduran National Team. The 25-year-old could pair with fellow National Team forward Romell Quioto against Seattle on Wednesday. Quioto, a left-footed striker, netted the opening goal in last year’s victory over Portland.
“They’ve historically been a very, very good team,” Sigi Schmid said on Tuesday. “They’ve got a couple of strikers that are very dangerous, a couple of young players that are coming along. ...They’ve got a good, balanced squad with some good speed.”
Along with El Salvador’s Isidro Metapan, Olimpia is one of just two teams to qualify for all eight editions of the SCCL. Schmid faced the Honduran side 15 years ago, when his LA Galaxy won 3-2 over Olimpia to claim the SCCL title (then referred to as the CONCACAF Champions’ Cup). He is one of just two MLS coaches to ever win the regional tournament.
All four of Seattle’s SCCL Group Stage matches come on a Wednesday night, making for a busy schedule in the final months of the MLS regular season. In their first SCCL match, the Sounders made eight changes to the lineup that had taken the pitch over the weekend.
Wednesday’s match kicks off at 7 p.m. PT on FOX Sports 2 and KIRO Radio 97.3 FM.