Seattle Sounders, Olimpia battle in fiery CCL draw in Honduras

Sounders CCL
Photo of João Paulo celebrating his first Seattle Sounders FC goal against CD Olimpia on Feb. 20, 2020, courtesy of Lindsey Wasson/Seattle Sounders FC.

San Pedro Sula, Honduras — The Seattle Sounders have their fair share of rivalries. Of course, the club’s biggest rivalry is their usual brawl with the Portland Timbers. Then, you have a fellow Cascadia rival in the Vancouver Whitecaps. Over the last four years, the Sounders have developed a rivalry with Toronto FC.

However, last night, the team produced fiery, feisty moments against CD Olimpia. Kicking off their Concacaf Champions League journey, the Sounders picked up two goals against Olimpia in Honduras. However, in the second half, the home side fired on all cylinders and equalized the match.

Chaos erupted early when Yustin Arboleda was whistled for a foul in the Sounders box. The Colombian went studs up on Sounders goalkeeper Stefan Frei, hitting him in the ribs. Frei immediately retaliated by putting Arboleda on the ground, which caused a few pushes and shoves.

Instead of giving Arboleda a red card, referee Juan Calderon gave both players a yellow card. Minutes later, the Sounders bench and Olimpia’s bench were given yellow cards. The first half produced four yellow cards to the players and two at the benches. Xavier Arreaga also picked up a Sounders yellow card, while Jonathan Paz picked up the other card for Olimpia.

A few players made their Sounders debut on Thursday night. João Paulo, the Brazilian who featured in clubs in his home country, scored the opening goal in the 6th minute. Jordan Morris assisted his new teammate’s goal, while also notching one of his own in the 54th minute.

On defense, Yeimar Gómez Andrade made his debut at centerback, partnering up with Arreaga. Kelvin Leerdam lined up on the right side of the pitch, while Nouhou anchored his spot at left back. In goal, Frei finished with four saves.

Three takeaways from Sounders vs. Olimpia

  1. That’s a red card, referee: Not giving a yellow to Arboleda was atrocious from referee Calderon. Making contact with a player, going studs up, is a red card foul every single time. There is no VAR in the tournament, so he couldn’t go back and look. However, he had the best spot on the pitch to see the foul. It added insult to injury when Arboleda was the one that scored twice for Olimpia.
  2. The defense needs work: We’ve mentioned before how the Sounders defense has completely overhauled. Arreaga is in his first full season, but Leerdam is the only defender who started in the MLS Cup Final that remains on the team. It seemed like Gómez Andrade and Arreaga had a good partnership. But, they fizzled in the second half. They need to work on having good chemistry through 90 — or more — minutes.
  3. Coming back home: The Sounders will return to CenturyLink on Thursday. Needless to say, if a crowd shows up like the one they had for the MLS Cup Final, it could be a nightmare for Olimpia.

What’s Next?

As mentioned, Seattle will host the second leg at CenturyLink Field. The two sides are tied on aggregate at 2-2, and CenturyLink is a feared place to play. Thursday’s match will begin at 10 p.m. EST/7 p.m. PT. The winner will go on to face the winner of the Montreal Impact vs. Saprissa contest.

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