Even if we get past last year’s brutal 6-1 scorching Seattle took while being dismissed from CONCACAF Champions League last year inside the very same stadium, there is a brick wall of data that makes it impossible to like the MLS club’s chances in tonight’s semifinal second leg at Santos Laguna.
The big one, of course, is Major League Soccer’s terrible record against Mexican sides when playing south of the border: that mark stands at a telling 2-23-4 all-time.
Even those two wins were in group stages, the breakthrough results in 2011 when FC Dallas upended Pumas and Seattle took down Monterrey. Seattle did just eliminate a Mexican side in a home-and-away set, which was a first. (The Sounders prevailed over Tigres in the current tournament’s quarterfinals.)
So carrying a 1-0 deficit into tonight away leg inside Estadio Corona, things look grim for Seattle. Mauro Rosales says “it’s only one goal,” and he’s technically correct on that one. On the other hand, it’s also about stopping Santos and perennial MLS killer Herculez Gomez. The U.S. international supplied the solid game-winner last week in Seattle.
And then there is Santos’ impressive record at their very green home ground.
They have lost just once in their most recent 13 matches in Torreon. In Champions League contests inside Estadio Corona, Los Guerreros are 4-0 with a plus-15 goal difference. (Santos has 16 goals, with just 3 against.)
All hope is not lost for Seattle in tonight’s 8 p.m. ET kickoff (Fox Soccer Channel). Santos did play a strong lineup in its weekend Liga MX match, a scoreless draw at Tijuana.
Still, roster depth is one of the primary reasons we get that 2-23-4 lopsidedness. Major League Soccer teams aren’t too far behind the Mexican sides in, say, roster spots 1-10. But the dropoff in talent down the roster, spots 11-20 or so, is significant. And some of those will always get on the field in these “added” competitions.