After Real Salt Lake's success in the CONCACAF Champions League last season, a greater sense of optimism and encouragement surrounds Major League Soccer's participation in the prestigious competition than ever before.
Five MLS teams (Seattle, Los Angeles, Colorado, FC Dallas, Toronto FC) made the group stage for the first time since the tournament went to its new format, and two of those teams kick off their quests for regional glory Tuesday night, as the Seattle Sounders and Los Angeles Galaxy open up group play.
Seattle was forced to qualify through the preliminary rounds, but topped Panama's San Francisco with a come-from-behind effort to make it into Group D. The Sounders' first test is Guatemalan side Comunicaciones, which has won the last two domestic championships en route to CCL qualification. Seattle hosts the match at CenturyLink Field (10 p.m., Fox Soccer Channel).
The Galaxy, meanwhile, welcome back former player Guillermo Ramirez to the Home Depot Center for their Group A opener against Honduran club Motagua (10 p.m start/12 p.m. tape delay, Fox Soccer Channel).
After a horrific showing in the CCL last season, the Galaxy, who will not have new signing Robbie Keane in uniform for the match, are out to prove that they are worthy of carrying the torch for MLS. Landon Donovan and Bruce Arena spoke about the club's preparations in the build up to Tuesday's match:
How do you see the Sounders and Galaxy faring tonight?
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