Could the Seattle Sounders become the first Major League Soccer team to win Concacaf Champions League or will Pumas scoop their first title and continue a run of Liga MX dominance? Mexican teams have won every edition of the competition since the reformat from the Champions Cup during the 2009 season with Monterrey being the most successful side with five titles.
For both the Sounders and Pumas, reaching this match is the first time they’ve reached the final so history has already been made, but Seattle carries the weight of their league with them. They’re the fifth team to make the final with the previous four losing there but the hope is that they can join the Champions Cup winning Chicago Fire and LA Galaxy sides to be the only MLS teams who have been crowned Concacaf champions.
The Sounders will feel good about things as they will take the field in this final in front of a record breaking crowd of about 68,000 fans at Lumen field while things are level 2-2 on aggregate. The Sounders displayed impressive fight in Mexico with Nicolas Lodeiro scoring two penalties to come from behind for a draw, but they’ll need to do better defensively in this match.
Hector Moreno, who started his career at Pumas UNAM, summed up the magic around the team well, speaking to CBS Sports Podcast, In Soccer We Trust, saying, “They’ve been doing this kind of heroic thing every time. So while by the odds it is very difficult for them to go through this and become the champions, they like this. They were in a confident situation up 2-0, and said ‘let’s draw 2-2 to make it even more dramatic for the movie that they’re going to make about us afterward.'”
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And considering the injuries that the team has faced, and the victory over tournament favorites Cruz Azul, there is a bit of a team of destiny vibe surrounding Pumas currently.
The Sounders will hope that their own big game players show up to stop that dream but their most important player may be keeper Stefan Frei.
“You don’t win without goalkeepers,” director of scouting Craig Waibel said. “I always joke goalkeepers aren’t soccer players and there’s a reason. It’s because they don’t do the same things [as a field player], they do very unique and special things and Stef is a very special player.
“This team is so balanced, you can point to a lot of places for veterans, but you can’t point everywhere for vocal leadership. And Stef is one of those guys that provides a very, very unique skill set in professional sports of guys that are willing to speak up and lead vocally. And that takes courage. He’s one of those guys that does it.”
Frei will be up against the leading goal scorer in Champions League play, Juan Dinenno. And while he has been beaten by him once, he won’t want to be beaten again with so much on the line.
Here’s our storylines, how you can watch the match and more:
How to watch and odds
- Date: Wednesday, May 4 | Time: 10 p.m. ET
- Location: Lumen Field — Seattle, Washington
- TV: FS1 | Live stream: fuboTV (Try for free)
Seattle Sounders: The Sounders will have a clean bill of health which will likely see the same lineup as last match go again.
Pumas: The big question is the health of right back Alan Mozo. While he’s a game time decision, he isn’t expected to play in the match which would see young backup Jesus Rivas tested. He did have an assist in the first leg so don’t write off a chance for him to continue Pumas magic run.
It’ll be a rollercoaster but the Sounders will get this one done at home in front of their support. Pick: Seattle 2, Pumas 1