The Sounders were knocked out of the 2012-13 CONCACAF Champions League on Tuesday, and there’s no knowing when the team will be back.
Seattle failed to qualify for the 2013-14 tournament last season and isn’t in the best shape — so far — to earn a berth for 2014-15. Under the current format, teams qualify as the MLS Cup winner, MLS Cup runner-up, Supporters’ Shield winner and U.S. Open Cup winner.
So how does the team feel about an indefinite leave from the regional tournament for the top club teams around North America, Central America at the Caribbean?
“Champions League has been part of our DNA over the last three years, so to know that the earliest we can be back in it is in August of 2014 is a little disappointing for us,” said coach Sigi Schmid. “It’s sort of a rhythm we’ve gotten used to a little bit. For us, the objective has been the same. The objective has been to play better soccer and to win games, whether it’s Champions League or league. Now we’re limited to league games and we’ve got to win those games and carry the effort that we put forth in the game on Tuesday into the game that we play on Saturday.”
Is there any thought that a summer without a handful more games and international travel could be a good thing every once in a while?
“No, not for me,” Schmid said, “and I’m sure for the guys the same. I’m sure when Champions League starts up for those teams and those Tuesdays and Wednesdays hit, guys are going to be looking at the TV saying, ‘Hey, we sort of miss being part of that.’ It’s like everything. Sometimes you complain about something, but when you’re not part of it you miss it. It’s an objective that we’ve always had as a club to be part of that competition, and it’s something we want to make sure at the end of the year that we qualify ourselves for.”
What are your feeling about the CCL going away for a while?