With the conclusion of CONCACAF group play on Thursday, Sounders FC now knows that it will be paired with Tigres of Mexico when the quarterfinals roll around in March.
After Sounders training today, we asked coach Sigi Schmid about the pairing.
“March. Long time,” he said. “We’ll talk about them later. … Obviouly you never know who you’re going to meet in that kind of competition. You try to avoid a Mexican team if at all possible. But it is what it is, and if we want to win the competition we’ve got to win against a team like that and in games like that. We’ve just got to take it as it comes. We’ve got the second game and home. That will be nice. We know who we play. We know what the dates are, so we can establish our preseason schedule. … … The first round is anything between the Tuesday and the Thursday, but we know what week it’s in and what week the second round’s in.”
The Sounders also went into — and were eliminated from — the quarterfinals of last year’s tournament. Schmid said the club is still debating if they will handle pre-tournament preparations in the same way this time.
“We’ll talk about if that was the right way to do it,” he said. “We’re already committed to the Tucson Cup, but they know there was a possibility that we might want to get an extra game in during that time, so that works out anyway because in preseason you have enough players to field two teams, so maybe one team plays one game and another team plays another game. We’ll have to work that out in terms of trying to play some teams that play a Latin style.”