Seattle Sounders FC flounder in CCL Round of 16 to Olimpia

Seattle Sounders CCL
Photo of the Seattle Sounders FC starting lineup against Olimpia courtesy of Lindsey Wasson/Seattle Sounders FC.

Seattle, Washington — Never say it’s over until it’s over. The Seattle Sounders FC entered Thursday night’s Concacaf Champions League match against CD Olimpia with an aggregate lead on away goals. However, the Sounders ultimately got knocked out of the tournament on penalty kicks.

Olimpia entered the match with two star defenders out, too. Jonathan Paz was busy getting his visa situation taken care of and could not feature. Meanwhile, captain Ever Alvarado tore his ACL in a league match in Honduras, keeping him sidelined.

Seattle had a few injuries of their own. Gustav Svensson and Nicolas Lodeiro have been dealing with different injuries, while Harry Shipp has been dealing with an ongoing sickness.

Elvin Oliva Casildo gave Olimpia a spark early in the match with a 4th minute goal. Seattle had to tinker around with the defense, as Yeimar Gómez Andrade had to clear up his visa as well. Shane O’Neill, who featured for Orlando City SC, took his place at center back, alongside Xavier Arreaga.

However, the Sounders responded in the first half. Cristian Roldan smacked a header past goalkeeper Edrick Menjivar, off an assist from new Sounders midfielder João Paulo.

The favor was returned in the second half. João Paulo scored his second Sounders goal in the last two matches in the 64th minute. Roldan assisted his teammate’s goal, giving both players a goal and an assist last night. However, Seattle’s lead was cut in the 86th minute, as Carlos Pineda scored the equalizing goal.

On penalty kicks, Seattle had conversions from Raúl Ruidíaz and João Paulo. However, Roldan sent his kick into the stands, while Kelvin Leerdam had his penalty saved by Menjivar. For the visitors, Justine Arboleda, Jorge Benguche, Edwin Rodriguez and Johnny Leveron all converted against Stefan Frei.

Three Takeaways 

  1. Hardcore fouling: The entire match featured 42 total fouls, with 22 coming from the Seattle Sounders. However, while watching the match, it was clear to see what Olimpia’s intent was throughout the match. The Honduran club wanted to smack Seattle around and get physical with the team, hoping to wear them down. It happened, as Seattle looked sluggish in the last 20 minutes from the wear and tear.
  2. Another Sounders debut: Miguel Ibarra joined the team last week. On Thursday, he made his Sounders debut in the 70th minute, coming on for Joevin Jones. Ibarra had some good seasons in Minnesota and has some Liga MX experience, too. He’ll be a strong addition to a solid Sounders midfield.
  3. Is there center back depth? When it comes to signing defenders, I am with the belief that the Sounders, and any team, should target winning defenders. O’Neill did not come from a winning team. Instead, he came from Orlando City SC, who missed the playoffs the last two seasons. He’s not going to be the answer at center back. Seattle should be worried if Gómez Andrade and Arreaga are out.

What’s Next for the Sounders? 

The Sounders are out of the Concacaf Champions League. However, they’re still the reigning MLS Cup champions and now have a crown to defend. Seattle opens up their league play on Sunday, with a home contest against the Chicago Fire. There’s going to be some tired legs, but be on the lookout for injury updates to Svensson, Shipp and Lodeiro.

Meanwhile, Olimpia will face the Montreal Impact in the CCL quarterfinals.

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