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September 17, 2012 at 4:04 PM

Sounders can clinch advancement out of CCL group stage with a win Wednesday

ccl logo.jpgThis was covered after the last CONCACAF Champions League game, but it’s been a while, so here’s a reminder: Sounders FC can clinch advancement out of the CCL group stage with a road win Wednesday at CD Marathon of Honduras.

Seattle leads Group 4 with a 2-0 record, meaning Marathon (0-0-1) won’t be able to catch up with a loss. Last-place Caledonia AIA of Trinidad & Tobago has already been eliminated from advancement with a 0-2-1 record.

“We want to finish this thing off so the (group-stage finale) when we come back here … doesn’t matter,” said defender Patrick Ianni. “Definitely a tie would be good; a win would put it to rest, which is what we want to do so … we can just focus on MLS Cup when we get back.”

With a tie Wednesday, the Sounders would need at least a tie in its final group game on Oct. 24 vs. Marathon. That game, of course, comes four days before Seattle’s last game in the MLS regular season — a visit to the Los Angeles Galaxy that could have playoff seeding implications.

But there’s another thing to consider: Saturday’s home game against league-leading San Jose, which is essentially a must win for the Sounders to stay in the Supporters’ Shield race.

“If we could clinch the (CCL) group that’s something we want to do,” said coach Sigi Schmid, “but we also want to keep our eye on the game on Saturday and make sure that we’re ready for that one, as well.”

Since forward Eddie Johnson is suspended for Saturday’s game due to yellow card accumulation, he will travel to Honduras, Schmid said. Also traveling will be goalkeepers Michael Gspurning, Josh Ford and Bryan Meredith, according to the coach.

Among those not traveling are Mauro Rosales (quad), Christian Tiffert (ankle) and David Estrada (foot), who are all in the final stages of recovery from injury.

“We’re leaving them at home,” Schmid said. “I think they’re close. I think Rosales could probably play if we needed to. Tiffert could probably play in this one if we needed to. We’re going to hold them a little bit for Saturday.

“Estrada, those were his first minutes on Sunday in the reserve game. Practice is practice, games are games, so it’s a little bit different soreness for him today and we’re going to leave him here.”

* * *

What do you think about the rest of the week with the CCL game Wednesday and the big MLS game Saturday? How would you play it?

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