Hard fouls and hard feelings accompanied CD Olimpia’s visit to Seattle last week, and Sounders FC assumes things will pick up where they left off Wednesday when the clubs conclude their CONCACAF Champions League series in the Honduras.
“We expect the same: a little battle there,” Sounders midfielder Gonzalo Pineda said. “We know that they are a fighty team, and we have to be ready because this time they will be at home and it can be a little different. They will try to put pressure on us, and they will try to not let us play a little bit — a lot of fouls.”
A foul was the difference when the clubs met at CenturyLink Field this past Wednesday. That game stood even in stoppage time when Olimpia midfielder Arnold Peralta knocked down Dylan Remick in the penalty area. That led to a penalty kick by Brad Evans, clinching Seattle’s come-from-behind 2-1 victory.
Evans said Olimpia goalkeeper Noel Vallardes had delayed the PK and talked trash. So when the kick hit the back of the net, Evans celebrated and did some talking of his own. Vallardes rushed over, and the teams gathered in a scrum that lasted beyond the final whistle.
“Sometimes that’s just the way things go,” Seattle coach Sigi Schmid said after the match. “Certainly things got a bit extreme there.”
Before beginning the two-day trip to Honduras on Monday, Schmid predicted more of the same.
“It will probably add a little spice to the game than would have been — probably gets their crowd into it,” he said. “Probably even helps their attendance for the game, just the way the last game ended.”
Even without that, the mere mathematics of CCL group play provides plenty of incentive for the Lions: A loss would end their chance of advancing to the knockout stage.
Seattle leads Group F at 1-0-1 followed by Vancouver at 0-0-1 and Olimpia at 0-1-0. The Sounders will stay atop the group regardless of result. However, a Sounders’ win would give them seven points — more than Olimpia could make up in its remaining two games.
“Not knowing how they and Vancouver are going to do impacts things,” Schmid said. “But either way — no matter what happens in this game Wednesday — it’s going to come down to our last game with Vancouver (Sept. 23 in Seattle).”
That leaves Schmid free to play another reserve-heavy lineup at Olimpia, keeping his first-choice lineup rested for the return to Major League Soccer this weekend.
“The important game for us is Portland on Sunday,” Schmid said. “Our focus is on that. But we know that we have this game in Honduras in the Champions League, and anytime we send out a team we want to do well and get the result.”
The mostly second-string lineup was just enough to get by at home. And those called on Wednesday want to make their mark again.
“We are thinking about this game in Honduras, because also the Champions League is very important for the team,” Pineda said. “So for us, it is a great opportunity to show ourselves and to stand there and bring back the three points. That’s the main thing. After that we will think of Portland, but right now all that matters is this game in Honduras.”
Sounders 2 forward Myron Samuel was voted USL player of the week after recording two goals and an assist in his club debut Wednesday against Colorado Springs.
Don Ruiz: 253-597-8808
SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC AT CD OLIMPIA
7 p.m. Wednesday; Tegucigalpa, Honduras.
TV: Fox Sports Plus. Radio: 97.3-FM. Streaming: Fox Sports Go.
Head to head: Seattle won the only previous meeting, 2-1, last week at CenturyLink Field.
Notes: This is a Group F match of the CONCACAF Champions League, the club championship of North America, Central America and the Caribbean. Group standings are Seattle 1-0-1, Vancouver 0-0-1, Olimpia 0-1-0. The three clubs in each group play home-and-away games against the others. After four games, the group winners advance to the knockout rounds. Olimpia would be mathematically eliminated with a loss Wednesday. … Seattle opened with a 1-1 draw at Vancouver. … Club Deportiva Olimpia was founded in 1912 in Tegucigalpa. The Lions have won 29 national championships. They also have six previous CCL appearances and advanced to the quarterfinals in 2010-11. … Olimpia qualified for this tournament by winning the 2014-15 Honduran National League Clausura. Seattle qualified by winning the 2015 U.S. Open Cup. … Olimpia is 1-3 in the Honduran National League and has been outscored 5-9. Their lone win came Sunday, 2-1, vs. Real Sociedad. The Lions used a mostly reserve lineup, apparently keeping their starters fresh for CCL. … Seattle is 11-13-2 in Major League Soccer. … This is the second match in a stretch of three games over eight days for the Sounders, who are expected to field a reserve-heavy lineup.
Quote: “They are a little aggressive. (Mexico has) a big rivalry with Honduras ... so it was a great atmosphere with a lot of people screaming at us and yelling. It’s part of the show, and we are prepared for that. We are pros, so that does not affect our play inside the field.” — Sounders midfielder Gonzalo Pineda, recalling Honduran soccer from his days with the Mexico national team.
Next: The Sounders return to MLS play at 2 p.m. Sunday when the Portland Timbers visit CenturyLink Field, which will be opened to full capacity. Seattle concludes CCL group play Sept. 23 when the Whitecaps visit Seattle.